Republicans Fell Short in 2022

Many commentators on last November’s election suggested that the Republicans substantially under-performed expectations while retaking the House. Data on retirements from the House strongly confirm that intuition.

In other posts here, I have shown how retirements from the House of Representatives can be a bellwether for the upcoming Congressional election. If we look at the difference in the number of retirees from each party and compare that figure to outcomes in House elections, we find this strong, but highly non-linear relationship:

Republicans lost seats in all but one election when their retirees exceeded Democratic retirees by six or more. Republicans gained seats in every one of the five elections when Democratic retirements outnumbered Republican ones by six or more.

By this measure, the 2022 fits the historical patterns. Twenty-two Democrats left the House compared to only ten Republicans for a net retirement measure of -12. Historically, a gap that large should have given the Republicans a  forty-seat swing. In the end they switched just nine seats.