Barack Obama was elected yesterday President with 52% of the vote to John McCain’s 46%. In the electoral college, 48 states have been declared with Obama on 349 electoral college votes and McCain on 163. At time of writing North Carolina’s 15 electoral college votes look likely to go to Obama, while Missouri’s 11 look more likely to go to McCain.
For the Republicans, this is a result very comparable to 1992, when George H. W. Bush won 168 electoral college votes. The Republicans have lost a presidential election on two other occasions in the last forty years – in 1976 and 1996. 2008 is a better performance than in 1996 but worse than 1976.
In the House of Representatives, the Republicans lost twenty seats net to the Democrats. The Democrats are on 252 seats, with the Republicans on 173. The Republicans’ twenty-four lost seats were offset by four gains – Tom Delay’s former district in Texas and Mark Foley’s in Florida, the sixth district of Louisiana which had been Republican from 1975 until a special election earlier this year and the second district of Kansas.
At the Senate level, four results remain undeclared. The Republicans are on forty Senators and being reported very slightly ahead in Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon. If all of these seats are won by the Democrats – meaning they are on sixty seats including two independents who caucus with the Democrats – then the Republicans will be unable to fillibuster votes that go strictly down the party line.
In races for Governor, eleven seats were up for grabs, with ten going to the incumbent party and one being lost to the Democrats.
On Sunday, the conservative columnist George Will wrote of the 1964 and 1976 elections, both with very bad results for Republicans. In the former, House Republicans were reduced to 140; in the latter to 144. In the Senate, the Republicans won 32 seats in 1964 and 38 in 1976.