THE U.S. POLITICAL SYSTEM AND THE 2014 MIDTERM ELECTION. Hans Noel Georgetown University bit.ly/hansnoel

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1 THE U.S. POLITICAL SYSTEM AND THE 2014 MIDTERM ELECTION Hans Noel Georgetown University

2 THE U.S. POLITICAL SYSTEM AND THE 2014 MIDTERM ELECTION 1. The U.S. System and the U.K. System 2. What is at Stake? 3. Elections from a Political Science Perspective A prediction

3 THE U.S. POLITICAL SYSTEM FROM THE U.K. PERSPECTIVE

4 ELECTORAL SYSTEM GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM SMD vs. PR presidential vs. parliamentary USA: SMD UK: SMD USA: Presidential UK: Parliamentary!! Number of parties!! Separation of Powers

5 GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM

6

7

8 SEPARATION OF POWERS CONGRESS (Legislative) PRESIDENCY (Executive) SUPREME COURT (Judicial)

9 House of Commons House of Lords Prime Minister 650 members Directly elected by FPTP in constituencies Primary legislative power Currently 793 members Appointed, inherited, by virtue of other office Limited legislative power Sovereign appoints Support by House of Commons Head of Government House of Representatives Senate President 435 members Directly elected by FPTP in districts Shared legislative power 100 members Directly elected FPTP in states Shared legislative power Separate election Indirect Electoral College Head of Government+State

10 HOUSE SENATE Representation by population 2-year terms 435 members Majoritarian! Strong leadership Strong parties Committees important! Currently Republican 234 to 201 Representation by state Staggered 6-year terms 100 members Minority rights Filibuster and holds Consensus! Weaker committees No germaneness Currently Democratic 45 to 55

11 ELECTORAL SYSTEM

12 FIRST PAST THE POST PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION single-member districts multi-member districts plurality winner allocated by proportion. 30% of vote 30% of seats direct representation by district indirect representation by party two-parties multiple parties

13 DUVERGER S LAW The simple-majority single-ballot system favors the two-party system Single-Member Districts with Plurality Rule Two-Party Systems Proportional Representation Multiparty Systems More disproportional Fewer parties

14 'Effective' number of parties Belgium Italy Switzerland Netherlands Finland Norway Denmark Sweden Luxembourg Israel Iceland Germany Austria Ireland Japan Portugal Malta Spain Greece Papua New Guinea India Colombia Canada Australia Botswana New Zealand Venezuala Costa Rica Duverger s Law: The simple-majority single-ballot system favors the two-party system UK USA Trinidad & Tobago Bahamas Barbados Mauritius France Jamaica Disproportionality Lijphart 1999, Vatter 2009

15 U.S. DISPROPORTIONALITY Seat Share First Past the Post Disproportionality at the aggregate level 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% Top Two Parties Performance in U.S. House Elections MAJORITY IN HOUSE MINORITY 0% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Aggregate Popular Vote Share Electoral Vote Share Electoral College Exaggerates Disproportionality Single-member district (the presidency) Winner-take-all for each state 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% Top Two Candidate s Performance in U.S. Presidential Elections WINNERS LOSERS 0% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Popular Vote Share

16 DEMOCRATIC PARTY Liberal (Left) REPUBLICAN PARTY Conservative (Right) ECONOMICS Labor, intervention Business, free market SOCIAL ISSUES Non-traditional, secular Traditional, religious RACE Pro-ethnic minorities Color-blind FOREIGN POLICY Multilateral Unilateral

17 WHAT IS AT STAKE?

18 DIVIDED GOVERNMENT PRESIDENT HOUSE SENATE DEM! GOP year Possible to have divided government President and Congress need to coordinate Gridlock Separation of Powers exacerbates conflict

19 AGENDA SETTERS VS VETO PLAYERS AGENDA SETTER NOT AN AGENDA SETTER VETO VETO AGENDA SETTER

20 SENATE Both Republican Both Democratic Split D & R Independent

21 SENATE Republican Republican Retiring Democrat Democrat Retiring No election

22 HOUSE Democrat Republican

23 GOVERNORS Republican Republican Retiring Democrat Democrat Retiring No election

24 ELECTIONS FROM A POLITICAL SCIENCE PERSPECTIVE

25 FORECASTING TECHNOLOGY

26 PREDICTIONS SCIENCE COBE mission. See also or

27 WHAT EXPLAINS VOTER BEHAVIOR? 1. Midterms are tied to the President! 2. Economic performance matters!

28 PRESIDENTS PARTIES LOSE President's Party's Seat Gain

29 ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE President's Party's Seat Gain % Change in RDI

30 ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE President's Party's Seat Gain % Change in RDI

31 PRESIDENT S APPROVAL President's Party's Seat Gain President's Approval over Labor Day

32 PRESIDENT S APPROVAL President's Party's Seat Gain President's Approval over Labor Day

33 THE MONKEY CAGE FORECAST

34 THE MONKEY CAGE FORECAST

35 THE MONKEY CAGE FORECAST

36 THE MONKEY CAGE FORECAST

37 Status Quo 234 to to 55 Noel The Monkey Cage The Upshot Nate Silver Cook House 100% probability R Dems lose 25 seats 99% probability R Dems lose 6 seats 16 tossup seats 241 to to 188 Senate 53% probability R 51 to 49 61% probability R 52 to 48 64% probability R 52 to 48 9 tossup seats 43 to to 48

38 THANK YOU Hans Noel Georgetown University

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