The upcoming congressional midterm elections in 2018 are already poised to be a major battle between Republicans and Democrats. To help Americans wanting to really shape the country’s political future, SmartAsset looked at all 65 congressional districts in the country to determine which provided the best “swing” opportunities for voters — that is, which districts had the tightest races in the last election and which seats in Congress could be “swung” in the next election.
In the November 2016 elections, the margin of victory in some congressional districts was as little as 0.5 percent or just over 1,500 votes. And while the number of votes that would be required to possibly “swing” a seat next year can vary district to district, the midwestern state of Minnesota offers the most opportunities for would-be activists, says SmartAsset.
To compile its list of the top 10 swing districts to move to make a difference, SmartAsset first looked at every district that had a margin of victory of less than 15 percent in the November 2016 election. Then, it delved deeper to determine how close those races were. Next, each district’s livability was analyzed, taking into account factors like median income and median housing costs. Finally, each district was ranked based on an index “score” created based on the average of seven total “livability” factors.
Of the 65 total districts studied, 38 seats were held by Republicans, and 37 by Democrats. And in the top “swing” districts, Democrats currently hold six of the seats, compared to the four held by Republicans, says SmartAsset.
The state of Minnesota has eight congressional districts, and five of them had a margin of victory of less than 15 percent in the 2016 election. Four of those five landed in the top 10 swing districts to move to. Minnesota, says SmartAsset, is a great place for both political junkies and liberals. Therefore, unsurprisingly, the top two districts were located in Minnesota — Minnesota District 2 and Minnesota District 1.
Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District earned an index score of 100, in part due to its low poverty and unemployment rates. The annual median income is $36,800 here, while median monthly costs totaled $1,234. On the political front, the margin of victory in 2016 was just 1.8 percent.
Although Minnesota’s District 1 had a 0.8 percent margin of victory in 2016, its index score was 95.49, due to both a higher poverty rate and unemployment rate compared to District 2. However, District 1’s median housing costs were lower, says SmartAsset’s data.
Rounding out the top 3 with a score of 91.73 was New Hampshire’s District 1. This district scored well due to a 1.3 percent margin of victory, coupled with its favorable livability factors. New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District had the fourth lowest income inequality in the study, or how evenly income is distributed within an area, and a low poverty rate.
Minnesota’s other two districts to make the top 10, District 7 and District 8, ranked fourth and fifth, respectively.
The closest Congressional race in the study was in California’s 49 district. The margin of victory had been just 0.5 percent in November 2016, but the district’s high income inequality and housing costs affected its overall index score.
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