Despite the anti-incumbency rhetoric surrounding the 2010 elections, the number of Democratic and Republican incumbents running for reelection in their own state race only dropped 3.7 percent from 2008. To date, the National Institute on Money in State Politics reports that the election rate for Democratic incumbents dropped 15 percent from 2008, while Republican rates rose by 2 percent.
In 2008 the total number of incumbents running for re-election to their own seat was 4,926, with 4,643 (or 94 percent) of those candidates eventually winning reelection. So far in 2010, the outcome for incumbents was not as guaranteed but still relatively high – 86 percent, or 4,153 out of a 4,811 total candidates will continue to serve in their previously elected seats.*
Facing a sentiment for change in 2010, Democratic incumbents faired worse than in previous years. In 2008, Democratic incumbents enjoyed a 95 percent reelection rate, compared to just 80 percent in 2010. Republican incumbents on the other hand, varied little between 2008 and 2010, increasing from a 93 percent reelection rate in 2008 to 95 percent in 2010.
*Not including those races that are still pending, judicial candidates up for retention, or candidates that withdrew from the race prior to Election day.
See the full blog post here.