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Politics, by the numbers

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Two years from today, Iowa — dark, brooding, enigmatic Iowa — will be enjoying its quadrennial moment as the epicenter of the universe. And in 10 months, voters will vent their spleens — if they still are as splenetic as they now claim to be — in congressional elections. Some numbers define the political landscape.

In an October poll, 60 percent favored voting out of office every congressional incumbent. The poll was taken just 11 months after voters re-elected 90 percent of House and 91 percent of Senate incumbents. Democrats are more likely to lose control of the Senate than gain control of the House. Ninety-three percent of Republican House members represent districts Mitt Romney carried, 96 percent of Democratic members represent districts Barack Obama carried. Since the mid-19th-century emergence of the current two-party competition, no party holding the presidency has ever won control of the House in any midterm election.

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