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Assess the Extent to Which Incumbents Have an Advantage over Challengers in Congressional Elections

  • Date Submitted: 04/02/2014 11:17 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 30.2 
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Incumbents in terms of congressional elections have a great advantage over the challenge for there seats especially due to the effective “Safe Seats” within the US political system. A safe seat is a seat in congress which effectively should never change party e.g. Texas being republican etc. The reason this is very significant for incumbents as this effectively stops there being any real opposition from other parties, this is because in the US in 2008 404 out of 435 were safe seats, This suggests that there are significantly more potential incumbents which in regards lowers the potential for opposition. However incumbents aren’t too advantaged when it comes to opposition from within their own party especially when they are so ideologically similar to that of the incumbent, This greatly levels the playing field and therefore there is not this advantage anymore however Incumbents do have an advantage over that of external challengers which the majority are going to be.

Also incumbents do have a large advantage over challengers when it comes to the re election rates of that of previous House of representative members and senate. For example the re election rates for incumbents in the last 9 of the last 11 election, 90% of them have been re elected, This suggests that there is this high chance that they will stop the challenge for their political seat. However it can be seen to be decreasing especially for those of the senate, for example 96% got re elected in 2004 to 2006 where it had 79% this suggests how the decline could in fact be showing that instead incumbents are having less of an advantage to challengers, However unless there has been major problems with the previous administration then they are likely to have more advantage over challengers

Incumbents play a significant role in the electoral process especially when it comes to that of congressional elections, there has been debate over whether they as incumbents actually are at a advantage to that of...


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