On January 1, the House of Representatives approved the “Cliff Deal” on Taxes. Among the 200 Republicans who had been re-elected to the House in November 2012, 69 voted “Yes”, 130 voted “No”, and one didn’t vote.
The vote was historically significant, because generally Republicans in the House stick together on important bills, yet in this instance, they split, with slightly more than one-third of the re-elected Republicans voting with the vast majority of Democrats.
When one breaks down the list of Republicans who had been re-elected in November 2012, one finds that Republican members from closed primary states were far more likely to vote for the bill than Republicans from states with more open primaries. Closed primary states had re-elected 48 Republicans to the U.S. House, and 27 of them voted for the bill.
Semi-closed primary states (those in which independents can vote in the party of choice, whereas registered party members must stick to their own party’s primary) produced 28 Republicans who were re-elected, and only 8 of them voted for the bill.
Top-two primary states re-elected 21 Republicans, and only 10 of them voted for the bill.
Open primary states (those in which any voter is free to choose any party’s primary ballot) re-elected 102 Republicans, and only 24 of them voted for the bill.
For those who wish to double-check the calculation in this blog post, here are the types of Republican primary by state for 2014, under current rules: open primaries in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming (Wyoming has registration by party, but any voter is free on primary day to switch parties). Here are the semi-closed Republican primaries, sometimes called semi-open: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia. Here are the top-two states: California, Louisiana, Washington. Here are the closed primary states: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota.
Here is the roll-call tally for Republicans who were re-elected, by state, with the number of “yes” followed by the number of “no” votes for each state. States not mentioned have no Republicans who were re-elected to the House. Alabama 0,6. Alaska 1,0. Arizona 0,3. Arkansas 2,2. California 5,7. Colorado 0,4. Florida 5,9. Georgia 0,8. Idaho 1,1. Illinois 3,2. Indiana 0,4. Iowa 0,2. Kansas 0,4. Kentucky 1,3. Louisiana 1,4. Maryland 0,1. Michigan 5,3. Minnesota 1,2. Mississippi 0,3. Missouri 2,2. Nebraska 1,2. Nevada 1,1. New Jersey 5,1. New Mexico 0,1. New York 4,0. North Carolina 1,4. Ohio 5,5. Oklahoma 2,1. Oregon 1,0. Pennsylvania 11,0. South Carolina 0,5. South Dakota 1,0. Tennessee 0,7. Texas 4,17. Utah 0,2. Virginia 0,8. Washington 4,0. West Virginia 0,2. Wisconsin 2,3. Wyoming 0,1. Total 199 who cast a vote on the bill, which was Roll Call 659.
Republicans who were not re-elected are excluded from this analysis because the purpose of this analysis is to evaluate the argument that top-two and open primaries cause politicians who want to be re-elected to move to the center. Obviously, Republicans who retired or were defeated shouldn’t be included in this analysis because they aren’t worried about being re-elected in 2014.