A New Look at Split-Ticket Outcomes for House and President: The Comparative Midpoints Model



We argue that conservative districts that go Democratic for the House should be likely to choose a Republican for president, while liberal districts represented by a Republican should be likely to opt for a Democrat for president. We test these and related predictions about split-ticket voting with election data from the eight presidential elections between 1964 and 1992. We show that ideological differences in the estimated location of the district's median voter explains a substantial component of the systematic variation in patterns of split outcomes in this period across districts, but that other factors (e.g., an especially popular incumbent or a particularly poor challenger, the magnitude of presidential election victory, region-specific realignment effects) also play a role.