Since 1996, the number of swing districts in the U.S. House of Representatives has dropped from 164 seats to just 72 seats following the 2016 elections. Swing districts are defined by Cook Political Report as having a Partisan Voting Index Rating of D+4.9 to R+4.9. As we near the 2018 midterms, these districts will play a key role in the GOP maintaining their majority or losing out to a Democratic wave. With control of the House at stake, who exactly are the constituents living in these pivotal swing districts?
Swing districts are nearly 50 percent less black than the average congressional district
Compared to the average congressional district, swing districts are home to more White, Korean, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Puerto Rican, and Cuban populations. Additionally, there are fewer Japanese, Mexican, and, most notably, Black populations in swing districts.
Constituents in swing districts are more likely to have health insurance
The number of constituents with health insurance coverage is about three percent higher in swing districts than the average district. Of swing district constituents with insurance, private coverage is nine percent higher and public coverage is six percent lower than constituents in an average district. The overall number of uninsured constituents is 20 percent lower in swing districts.
Legislators representing swing districts are less likely to miss votes and more likely to vote against their own party
During the 115th Congress, legislators representing swing districts are 33 percent more likely to vote against their own party and 39 percent less likely to miss votes on the floor. Members in swing districts have spent fewer terms in office, are enacting fewer bills, and garnering fewer cosponsors per bill than the average Representative.
Note on methodology: The data included in this report comes from the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. Additional legislative analysis was made possible through Quorum’s comprehensive database of legislative information and analytics. Swing districts are defined by Cook Political Report as having a Partisan Voting Index of D+4.9 to R+4.9.