Is there an incumbency advantage?

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  • Created on: 07-06-14 21:24
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Incumbent Advantage
The incumbent advantage is a trend in US congressional
elections, in that there is more of a chance for the
incumbent to be re elected rather then a challenger to be
elected. Generally, in the House this is about 90% and 80%
in the Senate.
· Gerrymandering. This is the changing of congressional
district lines, which House of Representative members
are in charge of. They are able to manipulate this to get
re elected or create safe seats, like Democrats and
· Pork barrelling. This is the spending of the federal
money by Congress members to benefit their area, and
ensure their re election as they have pleased their
electorate, eg the Gravina Island Bridge in Alaska,
which cost $3 million and benefited the 50 residents of
the island.
· Name recognition- people know who they are, and
know what they're like as politicians and perhaps even
as people, if they have grown up in the area.
· 2010: the incumbency rate reached its lowest in 30
years at 87%, and 2012 results only a little higher at
· Can be elected out of office if believed to be
ineffective, for example Elizabeth Dole of North
Carolina, as it was believed she wasn't doing a job for
North Carolinans and was seen as too supportive of an
unpopular President- Bush
· There is less of an incumbency rate in the Senate, as
the races are more competitive and more likely to be
contested due to the prestige of the Senate- eg 6 year


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