Every year, the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute put out the fantastic Vital Statistics on Congress, and this year's edition lands Tuesday. (Atlantic contributor Norm Ornstein co-authored the report with Tom Mann.) You can check out the entire thing here, with more data than you can possibly imagine on subjects you've never considered.
I wanted to pull out four graphs that show a somewhat different angle on Congress -- one of America's most loathed institutions -- than the usual.
That's the cost of a winning campaign on the left axis, all in 2012 dollars. (The campaign cash numbers in Vital Statistics come from the Campaign Finance Institute, whose Michael Malbin is a co-author on the report). No surprise there, right? Nor is it a shock that it costs a lot more to win a Senate seat than a House seat (though of course you can no longer buy one the way William Clark did back in 1899). But what's a little surprising is how consistently (if slowly) the price of a House seat has grown compared to the price needed to win a Senate seat, which has been far more volatile. Anyone know why the price dropped so dramatically in 2002?