The number of congressional districts that vote for a House representative and a presidential candidate from opposing parties has fallen from 190 in 1972 to 16 in 2020.
Why is this important: The stark numbers are likely a product of dwindling numbers of elected Southern Democrats and worsening polarization in the United States, as well as the decline of competitive districts due to redistricting and the clustering of like-minded populations. .
The big picture: For years, Democrats were more likely to win seats in precincts that voted for the Republican presidential candidate than the reverse.
- Between 1972 and 1988, the vast majority of split-ticket districts were won by House Democrats, according to the Pew Research Center. They were also disproportionately in the South, which made up 41.2% of all the divided districts.
- In the past three years of the presidential election, however, the tide has turned: Republicans have managed to win more House seats in districts that voted for the opposing party’s presidential candidate than Democrats.