The president’s party has lost seats in almost every midterm election since the Civil War. This time was no different, with Republicans picking up at least six seats.

But Democrats avoided the steeper losses that are normal for the president’s party in midterm elections. The number of Democratic losses will most likely grow as the final outstanding races are called, but Democrats will still have lost fewer seats in 2022 than the president’s party has in most recent midterms.

Most districts shifted right

The 2022 midterms were the first elections after nationwide redistricting redrew the electoral map, making it difficult to compare House results across elections. But it is possible to understand partisan shifts at the district level by comparing the 2022 House results with the 2020 presidential vote within the new district boundaries.

Though Democrats held off a red wave, there was still a red ripple: In their districts, most 2022 Republican House candidates outperformed then-President Donald J. Trump’s 2020 election results.

In the chart below, each arrow shows the partisan shift in the 2022 House vote compared with the 2020 presidential vote. The red arrows represent districts where voters cast ballots for the Republican House candidate in 2022 by a higher margin than they did for Mr. Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Blue arrows represent districts that voted more Democratic in 2022 than they did for Joseph R. Biden in 2020.

How 2022 House results compare with 2020 presidential election results

2022 House margin

2020 presidential margin

Voted more Democratic than presidential election

2020 presidential margin

2022 House margin

Voted more Republican than presidential election

Higher Trump margin in 2020

Higher Biden margin in 2020

Notes: Chart shows districts that have reported almost all of the vote and where there was one candidate from each major party and no major third-party candidate. Each district’s 2020 presidential vote is calculated using the new 2022 district boundaries to account for the significant change that many districts have had since the 2020 election. District-level returns are not yet complete. Margins may change as new results come in. The New York Times

State politics mattered in House races

How candidates fared differed significantly by state. Republicans performed extremely well in some states but fell short in others, especially in states with high-profile races for Senate or governor and in states where abortion was on the ballot.

Arrows show how much more districts voted Democratic or Republican in the 2022 House races than in the 2020 presidential election.

Notes: Arrows are shown only for districts that have reported almost all of the vote and where there was one candidate from each major party and no major third-party candidate. Each district’s 2020 presidential vote is calculated using the new 2022 district boundaries to account for the significant change that many districts have had since the 2020 election. District-level returns are not yet complete. Margins may change as new results come in. The New York Times

In Florida, once a battleground state, Republican candidates outperformed Mr. Trump by an average margin of almost 12 points, even when they did not win. Gov. Ron DeSantis won re-election by nearly a 20-point margin. Florida districts saw among the biggest rightward shifts of any state, on average, compared with 2020.

How House district results compare with presidential election results in Florida

2022 House margin

2020 presidential margin

Voted more Democratic than presidential election

2020 presidential margin

2022 House margin

Voted more Republican than presidential election

Republican
won
Democrat
won

Notes: Chart shows all districts where there was one candidate from each major party. Each district’s 2020 presidential vote was calculated using the new 2022 district boundaries to account for the significant change that many districts have had since the 2020 election. The New York Times

New York districts saw a similarly pronounced rightward shift of more than 11 percentage points, on average. Abortion and democracy, critical issues for Democratic candidates nationwide, may have seemed less important to voters in New York, which has a strong Democratic majority in the State Legislature.

After a state court overturned a redistricting map drawn by Democrats, five New York congressional districts were rated by the Cook Political Report as tossups ahead of election night, meaning they could go to either party. All five went to Republicans.

How House district results compare with presidential election results in New York

2022 House margin

2020 presidential margin

Voted more Democratic than presidential election

2020 presidential margin

2022 House margin

Voted more Republican than presidential election

Republican
won
Democrat
won

Notes: Chart shows all districts where there was one candidate from each major party. Each district’s 2020 presidential vote was calculated using the new 2022 district boundaries to account for the significant change that many districts have had since the 2020 election. The New York Times

Michigan, on the other hand, shifted meaningfully blue. Democrats won statewide races there and voters turned out in favor of ballot measures supporting abortion and voting rights. That support for Democrats also showed up in the House, where Michigan districts voted 0.2 points to the left, on average, compared with the 2020 presidential election.

How House district results compare with presidential election results in Michigan

2022 House margin

2020 presidential margin

Voted more Democratic than presidential election

2020 presidential margin

2022 House margin

Voted more Republican than presidential election

Republican
won
Democrat
won

Notes: Chart shows all districts where there was one candidate from each party. Each district’s 2020 presidential vote was calculated using the new 2022 district boundaries to account for the significant change that many districts have had since the 2020 election. The New York Times

Redistricting hurt some incumbent Democrats

In elections that come right after redistricting, a district’s boundaries may have changed significantly, and the district may represent a very different group of voters than before.

In some cases, new district shapes put incumbents at a disadvantage. Many of the Democratic incumbents who lost their seats were running in districts with very different shapes compared with two years ago.

Old and new district boundaries for incumbent Democrats who lost






How Republicans Won The House

Incumbent’s

old district

Incumbent’s

new district

Overlap between

old and new districts

How Republicans Won The House 1

Incumbent’s

old district

Incumbent’s

new district

Overlap between

old and new districts

How Republicans Won The House 2

Incumbent’s

old district

Incumbent’s

new district

Overlap between

old and new districts


Cindy Axne

Iowa

Sean Patrick Maloney

New York

Al Lawson

Florida

Elaine Luria

Virginia

Tom Malinowski

New Jersey

Tom O’Halleran

Arizona

Notes: Representative Al Lawson ran in a district where, because of redistricting, both a Democrat and a Republican from two separate old districts were incumbents in the new district. The chart shows the change in margin compared with Mr. Lawson’s former district, not his opponent’s district. The New York Times

In most of the districts where Democratic incumbents lost, redistricting caused the district’s underlying partisanship to shift to the right ahead of the election. A district that voted for Mr. Biden by 10 points in 2020 may have been redrawn to encompass an area that had voted Democratic by only two points, for example, meaning that redistricting alone caused the district to shift to the right.

Partisan shift in redistricting for incumbent Democrats who lost

Incumbent 2022 results 2020 presidential margin Change in
margin
because of
redistricting
Old
district
New
district
Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.) R+0.8 D+5 D+10
Cindy Axne (Iowa) R+0.7 R+0.1 R+0.3
Elaine Luria (Va.) R+3.4 D+4.6 D+2.1
Tom Malinowski (N.J.) R+3.7 D+10 D+4
Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.) R+7.8 D+1.7 R+8.3
Al Lawson (Fla.) R+19.6 D+26.5 R+10.9

Notes: Some changes in margin may not add up to the difference in margins shown because of rounding. Mr. Lawson ran in a district where, because of redistricting, both a Democrat and a Republican from two separate old districts were incumbents in the new district. The chart shows the change in margin compared with Mr. Lawson’s former district, not his opponent’s district. The New York Times

One exception was Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, the five-term New York congressman and chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who chose to run in a new district that was redrawn to favor Democrats and still lost.

Still, redistricting was less responsible for Republican gains than a genuine shift to the right in many places. Take, for example, the five House districts where voters had supported Democratic candidates for president in at least the past two elections but chose Republican representatives this year.

Those Republican gains came largely in upstate New York and on Long Island, and in Oregon’s Fifth District, where a centrist Democratic incumbent had been unseated by a more liberal candidate in a primary.

  2016
President
vote margin
2020
President
vote margin
2022
House
vote margin
Calif. 27* D+10 D+12 R+8
Calif. 45* D+14 D+6 R+6
N.Y. 3 D+5 D+8 R+8
N.Y. 4 D+13 D+15 R+4
N.Y. 17 D+8 D+10 R+<1
N.Y. 22 D+2 D+7 R+1
Ore. 5 D+2 D+9 R+2
Pa. 1* D+<1 D+5 R+10

Notes: *Incumbent won. District-level returns are not yet complete. Margins may change as new results come in. Each district’s presidential vote in 2016 and 2020 was calculated using the new 2022 district boundaries. The New York Times

Republicans also won a handful of the districts that Mr. Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020, signaling a shift back to the right in many of those places.

  2016
President
vote margin
2020
President
vote margin
2022
House
vote margin
Ariz. 1* R+5 D+2 R+<1
Ariz. 6 R+6 D+<1 R+1
Calif. 40* R+4 D+2 R+16
Neb. 2* R+2 D+6 R+3
N.J. 7 R+6 D+4 R+4
N.Y. 1 R+8 D+<1 R+12
N.Y. 19 R+2 D+5 R+2
Va. 2 R+6 D+2 R+3

Note: *Incumbent won. District-level returns are not yet complete. Margins may change as new results come in. Each district’s presidential vote in 2016 and 2020 was calculated using the new 2022 district boundaries. The New York Times

The rightward shift in 2022 in many places most likely represents a change in political feelings over the last two years. But individual personalities in House races can also matter, and in some cases may have cost Republicans seats.

In Washington’s Third District, which voted for Mr. Trump in both of the past two elections, Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez won an upset over her Republican opponent, Joe Kent. Mr. Kent, who ousted the Republican incumbent in a primary challenge, had spoken at a rally supporting the Jan. 6 rioters and backed a national abortion ban.

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