Here’s the phrase running around – a lot – right now:   “Nationwide, only 51% of the voters chose Democrats.”

Next time you hear it, this is the response:  “And only 46% chose Republicans.”

Much is being made some places of the percentage of the whole the Democrats won, and how when measured that way they’ve a disproportionately higher number of Congressional seats than they should.  Usually, these folk like to add in the fact that there were 30 unopposed Dem seats and 10 unopposed GOP seats and make that number even less – usually some 51 and a fraction%.  And, of course, 51% of 435 is “only” 222 seats – not the 229 (so far, maybe more) the party actually took.

There’s an invisible error going on in the followon assumption.  The assumption is that the rest of the seats should belong to the Republicans.  The problem is that just shy of 3% of the voters chose “someone else”.  Which means the Republicans should “only” have 46% of the seats – 46% of 435 being 200 seats.  In other words – if the Dems were to give up seats for proportionality, so should the GOP.

“Only 51% of the voters chose Democratic representatives,”

“Yep.  And only 46% chose Republicans.”


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