So I was thrilled that they dedicated a whole post to the Obama Eight. They look at it a little differently than me, tho:
Looking at the split-ticket voting effects here, there are essentially four subgroups of two districts each. You have districts where:
(a) despite Obama's slight margin and presumed coattails, the Republican incumbent is pretty safe anyway (Gallegly, Bono);
(b) Obama's margin and presumed coattails likely brought an otherwise safe winner into some electoral jeopardy (Dreier, Bilbray);
(c) Obama and McCain basically split the district, but the Republican outperformed McCain anyway (McKeon, Campbell); and
(d) Obama and McCain basically split the district, and the Republican House candidate barely got to 50 percent (Lungren, Calvert).
Because the first two groups could not be taken down even with a strong Obama coattail, and in the third the GOP incumbent outperformed McCain despite Obama's strength in the district, the last group offers the most logical targets for 2010.
In other words, they have Bono Mack as one of the safest and Calvert as one of the most vulnerable, while I have it the other way round. Although we differ, I think this analysis does a better job than mine at teasing out Obama's coattails.
|District||Incumbent||Flipability||DTS Registration||Dem Registration||GOP Registration||2008 Presidential|
|26th||Dreier||4||20%||35%||41%||51% Obama 41% McCain|
|45th||Bono Mack||1||16%||38%||42%||52% Obama 47% McCain|
|25th||McKeon||0||18%||38%||39%||49% Obama 48% McCain|
|3rd||Lungren||-2||18%||38%||40%||49% Obama 49% McCain|
|24th||Gallegly||-3||18%||36%||42%||51% Obama 48% McCain|
|50th||Bilbray||-5||24%||31%||40%||51% Obama 47% McCain|
|44th||Calvert||-6||18%||35%||42%||51% Obama 47% McCain|
|48th||Campbell||-16||22%||29%||45%||49% Obama 49% McCain|
I'm skeptical about the idea of coattails, generally, and in this case, I believe they were all but non-existent. Dissatisfied Republicans and Republican-sympathetic DTSers were only willing to cross the line once on the ballot: they took a shot on Obama or their local Democratic candidate for Congress, but not both.
Group B is the most interesting to me, where it looks like coattails actually did exist and almost yanked voters out from under the incumbents. We'll take a closer look at that soon.