Gotta do this before I forget

FiveThirtyEight is one of my favorite blogs. It is, in my opinion, one of the few online spaces where political moderation and pragmatism get top billing. Also, they're supersmart. They explain polls and statistical analysis in a way that even I can access. Usually, they say exactly what I want to say here, only better.

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.

DistrictIncumbentFlipabilityDTS RegistrationDem RegistrationGOP Registration2008 Presidential
26thDreier420%35%41%51% Obama 41% McCain
45thBono Mack116%38%42%52% Obama 47% McCain
25thMcKeon018%38%39%49% Obama 48% McCain
3rdLungren-218%38%40%49% Obama 49% McCain
24thGallegly-318%36%42%51% Obama 48% McCain
50thBilbray-524%31%40%51% Obama 47% McCain
44thCalvert-618%35%42%51% Obama 47% McCain
48thCampbell-1622%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.

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