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The Politics of the Government Shutdown – In One Chart

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As the government shutdown begins, so does the blame game. Is it Republicans’ fault? Democrats’ fault? While the endless speculation keeps pundits busy, it’s important to remember that members of Congress don’t care about “the public” in the abstract. They care about the public in their district. We say “district” because any deal to re-start the government will require agreement by both the House and the Senate. While senators, with their broader constituencies, have to worry more about voters in the center, no such pressure exists for most House members. A quick analysis finds roughly seven in eight House Republicans (86.6 percent, to be exact, or 201 of 232) won with at least 55 percent of the vote in 2012. Additionally, 140 Republicans (60.3 percent of the caucus) won with at least 60 percent of the vote. The chart below shows the distribution of seats by margin of victory. Note: most Democrats also come from safe seats.   house_shares

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Las Vegas Tops Political TV Ad Filings

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chart of political ad files in Political Ad Sleuth Of the 50 TV advertising markets where stations have been putting political ad files online since Aug. 2, Las Vegas has the most disclosures on Political Ad Sleuth, with more than 2,300 filings. If you just look at Senate races, though, the No. 1 spot goes to Pennsylvania, which has Sen. Bob Casey, Jr. (D) facing challenger Tom Smith. Political Ad Sleuth, a project of the Sunlight Foundation and Free Press, is just one week old and already the amount of political ad filings on TV are hitting record numbers. Be sure to check out how your local media market ranks.

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