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Study: Health care cost Dems in 2010

From NBC's Kevin Hurd
A new analysis by two political scientists shows how one vote on a big bill can affect a congressperson's chances of winning re-election.
 
In the analysis, Seth Masket of the University of Denver and Steve Greene of North Carolina State University looked specifically at how the health-care bill, stimulus, cap-and-trade, and TARP affected Democrats during the 2010 midterms.
 
After the election, they looked at how each Democratic member voted on these four issues. They coupled that data with who won re-election and who did not.
 
Before coming to any conclusions, they accounted for three different factors -- 1) how liberal or conservative a member's district is, 2) the member's voting patterns, and 3) the amount of money spent in the campaigns.
 
The result: "Democrats paid a substantial price for party unity in the 111th House of Representatives." Greene and Masket cite health care as the most costly vote to the party. Their analysis found supporters of the bill typically ran 6%-8% behind opponents in the election. And 13 members lost their seats because they voted 'yes' on health care.
 
TARP, by comparison, was found to have had a minor effect on the election. The stimulus was a little tougher to gauge, since a small group of Democrats voted against it. "Our results suggest that as much as it hurt some Democrats, it may have actually helped others," the political scientists wrote in their analysis.
 
Surprisingly, they found that cap-and-trade didn't have a big impact on whether a House member won or lost in 2010. "It is certainly possible that the cap-and-trade vote harmed some Democrats in some districts, but our evidence does not show any negative impact in the aggregate."
 
Masket and Greene breakdown their calculations further in a paper and explain how they reached their conclusions using regression analysis. A link is available on Masket's blog
 
Masket and Greene presented their findings at the Midwest Political Science Association meeting in Chicago this past weekend.