Congress heading towards deadlock, again
The big news of the night came in the race for the House of Representatives, where the Democrats took control for the first time since 2010. The Democrats gained more than the 23 seats needed for a majority, and could increase their lead further with some races yet to be decided. With the two chambers of Congress now split, policy making could be heading for deadlock.
The ‘blue wave’ led to a surge in Democratic vote share across much of the country
Much was made of the blue wave entering the election, and the Democrats will have reason to be optimistic. They increased their support in large areas of the midwest and the Rust Belt, regions where Donald Trump dominated in 2016, most notably in Oklahoma’s fifth district and Kansas’s third, where they flipped control.
Democrats took back some of Trump country
The Democrats defended most of its districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, frustrating Republicans as they failed to make further inroads. A larger concern for Trump is that the Republicans lost several districts in states that voted for him two years ago.
Most notable is Iowa, where the Democrats flipped two of the four districts, and shaved Republican incumbent Steve King’s majority by 16 points to a little more than 3%.
Democrats in suburban districts saw some of the biggest victories
Democrats campaigned heavily in suburban districts that traditionally voted Republican. Increasing diversity and a general distaste of Trump put many of those seats in play, and the Democrats capitalised on it.
The Democrats’ gains were concentrated in the centre 20% of districts by urban population – mostly suburban regions with a mix of high-density and lower-density areas. The party failed to take back many rural seats, which Trump won overwhelmingly in 2016 and Republicans held onto during this election.
The districts where Democrats succeeded were also more wealthy: they gained 16 seats in the highest income districts but their momentum tapered off in lower income brackets.
Democrats did similarly well in educated districts, with 17 of the Democrats’ 26 new seats coming in districts with the highest density of bachelor degrees.
Data sources: AP for election results, Daily Kos for presidential results by congressional district, American Community Survey for demographic information
Results as of 10.00 on 7 November