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Notes . . .


Wandering around election stats today, I stopped in at Cook’s report on partisan indexes but congressional district, and thought it would be interesting to compare the rankings for the Northwest.

A note or two for those not conversant with the PVI (partisan voter index): It uses a set of statistical measures, including but not limited to recent votes for president and congressional seats, to establish a statistical figure to demonstrate how Democratic or Republican a congressional district is.

It’s full national map is well worth the time if the subject is of interest. But for those in the Northwest, the rankings by district should give some perspective as to how parts of the region fit together.

Here’s how the districts in the Northwest, and some adjacent districts as well, stack up against each other. They’re listed in order from most Republican to most Democratic, and those in the middle are those which at least theoretically should be the most competitive.

-25.59 Utah 1 – Rob Bishop (R)
-24.97 Wyoming AL – Liz Cheney (R)
-20.71 Idaho 1 – Raul Labrador (R)
-16.85 Idaho 2 – Mike Simpson (R)
-13.27 Washington 4 – Dan Newhouse (R)
-11.14 Oregon 2 – Greg Walden (R)
-11.04 California 1 – Doug La Malfa (R)
-10.61 Montana AL – Greg Gianforte (R)
-7.63 Washington 5 – Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R)
-6.97 Nevada 2 – Mark Amodei (R)
-3.96 Washington 3 – Jaime Herrera Beutler (R)
-0.31 Washington 8 – Dave Reichert (R)
0.25 Oregon 4 – Peter DeFazio (D)
0.48 Oregon 5 – Kurt Schrader (D)
5.47 Washington 10 – Denny Heck (D)
5.69 Washington 1 – Suzane DelBene (D)
5.70 Washington 6 – Derek Kilmer (D)
9.10 Oregon 1 – Suzanne Bonamici (D)
9.93 Washington 2 – Rick Larsen (D)
20.90 Washington 9 – Adam Smith (D)
23.66 Oregon 3 – Earl Blumenauer (D)
32.69 Washington 7 – Pramila Jayapal (D)

The actual division is pretty clean – that is, districts leaning in the direction of one party do tend to elect people from that party. Where you see a really high PVI for either party, that means the opposition party needs something close to a miracle to win the seat. It happens, but such lightning strikes are rare.

But if 2018 turns into a Democratic wave year, you can see which districts are most worth watching. If this were a Republican wave year, districts like Oregon 4 and 5 and Washington 10 and 1 would be worth watching. In this year, however, two Washington districts – 3 and 8 – are at the top of the list. Dave Reichert in 8 is retiring, and a ferocious campaign may develop there, but we won’t know for sure until after Washington’s primary election next month. Washington 3 may be safer for Jaime Herrera Beutler partly because she has organized well and partly because Democrats seem not to have put strong enough campaign together there, but that district too should not be ignored.

Not far up the list above them, though, is Washington 5, a district not as firmly Republican as many people think, though Cathy McMorris Rodgers has held it solidly. She has her strongest ever opponent this year, though, and this is definitely a district to watch.

A bit of perspective as we head into campaign season. – rs

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