House Democrats win by 10.53%: The final popular vote percentages were 53.08%--42.55%, giving Democrats a 10.53% victory. This is the largest popular vote percentage victory for either party in either a Presidential or Congressional election since 1984 (the next largest victory was Bill Clinton with 8.51% in 1996). It is the first double-digit victory for any party in a national election in 24 years. That, truly, is a historical butt-whooping.
House Democrats also "outperformed" Obama by 3.28%, given his national victory of 7.25%. However, it is not exactly an apples to apples comparison, since there were 423 Democratic House candidates, versus 394 Republican candidates (Obama and McCain, by contrast, were on the ballot in all 435 congressional districts, plus the District of Columbia). Third-parties picked up some of the slack in the unopposed campaigns, but not in all campaigns and not to the same degree. Also, in Florida, unopposed House campaigns don't even have popular vote totals. So, overall, it is not a perfect comparison.
Still, it is safe to say that House Democrats performed roughly the same as Obama. This also happened in 1992, 2000 and 2004 elections where Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry also performed roughly as well as their downticket counterparts in the House. That each of the last four Democrats to become our Presidential nominee performed roughly as well as their counterparts in the House begs the question: were any of them really strong or weak candidates, or were they all simply captive to the political environments of their time? Perhaps we give Clinton and Obama too much credit, and Gore and Kerry too little credit, given that all four performed about the same as Democrats did in the House in the 1992, 2000, 2004 and 2008 elections.
This is sort of like turning the nature vs. nurture argument to federal electoral politics, and might be fundamentally unanswerable. However, it should at least provide a healthy dose of skepticism to counter the urge to consider Bill Clinton and Barack Obama's electoral campaigns total successes, and Al Gore and John Kerry's total failures. When each candidate was running seems to matter just as much as who those candidates, and what their strategies, were.
(Note to self: Since this is my sixth or seventh article in this vein, maybe I need to start a Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry society akin to the Richard the 3rd society in England. I feel as though our nominees who lose get an undeserved bad rap.)
House General Election Candidates Raise $859 million for 2007-2008: U.S. House candidates who won their primary and competed in the general election collectively raised $859.1 million in 2007-2008.
It is a fairly common cliché to be disgusted by the abominable amount of money in politics. However, given that we just handed over $700 billion to Wall Street in only four months, and the same amount to Iraq in six years, isn't it a far greater abomination that we allow corporate PACs and big donors to maintain influence over members of Congress when it would actually be relatively cheap to just turn to public financing?
A simple, inexpensive and pro-grassroots system could easily be devised. Candidates for Cogress, whether incumbents or challengers, have to raise $5 from, say, 2,000 people in their home state. Once they do so, they get $2 million for their campaign and automatic ballot access. Then, PACs and large donors no longer have any influence, and members of Congress don't have to spend so much time on the phone asking for money. However, hitting the streets and talking to your constituents would become more important than ever.
Cool numbers. However, still not quite cool enough to cause me to actually miss the election. Governing is much better. :)