The Incumbent Effect

John Sides argues (twice) that the vast majority of Congress will be re-elected in the fall. Taylor Steven agrees:

I would argue that if the re-elect race for the House is 85% or higher, then most of the media narrative that we have been subjected to this year will end up being a lot of sound and fury that will have signified a whole lot of not all that much (and this strikes me as a likely result, to be honest).  Even if we have a result that is “historical” and is in the 80% range, it is hard to make the case that an incumbent re-election rate of that magnitude demonstrates a massive amount of voter anger.  The bottom line is that a substantially large percentage of the current House is returning in January (and in the Senate too, although the numbers under discussion are for the House only).