US Midterms: The Statistics

Kirsten Ehlers - 1A Biomedical Engineering
Posted on: November 14, 2018

Last week Americans headed to the polls in the the US midterms, voting on hundreds of different electoral races across the nation. Typically, midterm elections go without a huge splash, since they occur in the middle of Presidential terms. They are often  sadly underrated events in American politics. However, with the controversy that is the Trump administration, the midterms this year were expected to bring about a lot of change, and consequently voters turned out in droves, breaking past midterm voter turnout records.

The Democrats won the house, ending a two-year streak with Republican control of government. They have a minority with 226 of the 435 seats available in Congress. However, republicans still have control of the Senate with 51 seats, and 3 seats heading to a recount (too close to call) or run-off vote (no candidate reaching 50% of the votes). [1]

The midterms also resulted in a plethora of records. It was the most expensive midterm election ever with an estimated $5.2 billion spent on campaigns. [2] As well as it had an incredibly voter turnout ever with an estimated 49% of eligible voters casting their ballots, which has not occurred since 1966. In fact, it was the first midterm election with over 100 million votes. In contrast, the previous midterms in 2014 had the lowest voter turnout since World War II with 36.4 % of eligible voters going to the polls. [3] Another fun fact about voter turnout: 17% of voters were new voters, an dramatic increase from the 3% from 2010.[4]

Additionally, the number of candidates running for office reached a record high and included a record number of women, people of colour, and LGBTQ candidates.

There were a whole lot of firsts. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortex of New York, at age 29 became the youngest women ever elected to Congress. Deb Haaland of New Mexico and Sharice Davids of Kansas were elected as the first ever Native American congresswomen. Young Kim of California was elected as the first Korean-American woman to Congress. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota became the first- ever Muslim congresswomen. Finally, Jared Polis of Colorado became the first openly gay governor in America.

The US midterms were quite exciting, but there is no rest for politics in America. Both parties have started preparing for the 2020 presidential elections.

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2018/nov/06/midterm-elections-2018-live-results-latest-winners-and-seats

[2] https://www.businessinsider.com/2018-midterm-election-records-early-voting-women-lgbt-candidates-2018-11#early-voter-turnout-in-a-non-presidential-election-2

[3] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/record-voter-turnout-in-2018-midterm-elections/

[4] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/key-takeaways-from-the-2018-midterm-elections/

 

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