3. Republicans have been winning a lot of national elections since 1994
House elections, for better or worse, have turned into national affairs. That’s why the presidential vote in each district is so predictive of the outcome in the House races. The good news is the nationalization of the races allow us to get a pretty idea how competitive the parties are.
I don’t just mean that we see how many Republicans and Democrats there are at the end of each election; I mean how many votes were won by each party’s candidates. This helps to mostly eliminate the effects of urban packing and redistricting.
Since 1994, Republicans have won the national House vote seven times. The Democrats have won it only three times. Republicans have won it in presidential years such as 1996, 2000, and 2004. They won it in 2010 by a large enough margin that even with a presidential year turnout, they still would have taken the House vote by more than 3pt.
If the existence of more extreme Republican candidates was hurting Republicans anywhere, you’d expect it to be in the House given they are furthest to the right. It might not hurt them in seats won, but you’d at least expect it to make a dent in the national vote. Yet, Republicans in the House actually outperform Mitt Romney, winning a higher percentage of the vote.