Author Bio

Ethan Braglio is a Senior Mathematics undergraduate student at West Chester University, with a minor in statistics. Ethan's interests lie in political science and using models and statistics to understand how elections are won.


Analysis of Senate Elections in the Rust Belt and Southern States dating back to 1980. Comparing the variables of incumbency, fundraising and fund spent, partisan lean, party control of the white house, and unemployment’s effect on votes and outcome of Senate elections. Attempts to confirm the literature consensus of fundraising and incumbency as the key factors, while also furthering the field by analyzing the other potential critical factors impact. This paper also looks at multivariate models, second order terms, and interaction analysis to understand the complicated relationship between.

Two distinct regions were chosen to test the variables strength in a non-partisan region (Rust Belt) and compare it to a region where one political party dominates the other (South). These regions are defined by economic, demographic, and geographic parameters. Senate elections were chosen as House districts are redrawn often, and Presidential elections happen infrequently, and have exponentially more factors, several hard or unrealistic to track or determine.

This research confirms the consensus that Senate elections are best determined by the qualitative and quantitative forms of incumbency and fundraising. It also holds that partisan lean, particularly in the Southern region holds significant determination as well. The factors of party control and unemployment failed to show any significance. The multivariate models were generally slightly stronger than single variable models, but only the Rust Belt region had both factors return statistically significant. Finally, fundraising’s advantage stems from incumbency, as incumbents of any length raised over double the mean level that their challenger counterparts did.