Measuring the Incumbency Advantage
As an institution, Congress isn’t rated very highly by Americans, yet the incumbency re-election rate is extraordinarily high. See the following:
For this Unit II paper, I want you to take a deeper dive into the Incumbency Advantage, exploring the concept and its elements, and do a little data mining to find evidence of it over time across three (3) states.
(1) Go to opensecrets.org
(2) Click on the menu icon (the four white bars in a dark blue field)
(3) Choose a state, and a year. I suggest doing one state at a time, for each of the three years.
(4) Click on the “+ Show Candidates.” This will show the candidates for each district, and you will CLEARLY see who the incumbent was, and if s/he won or not. Count the number of districts for that year in which an incumbent ran (not ones where there was no incumbent, since that doesn’t affect the advantage). Count the # of incumbents that won. There’s your incumbent success rate: IW/IR. Show your work and display the success percentages.
Your data should be presented in a spreadsheet or table, and be accompanied by a narrative explanation of you findings.
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