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In a paper published in May 2010, political scientist Thomas Brunell and graduate student David Smith, both of the University of Texas at Dallas, studied special elections between 1900 and 2008. They found that when Republicans have a net gain in special elections between any two cycles—that is, when they win more seats between two elections—they end up picking up seats in the House during the following cycle two thirds of the time (the correlation is even higher for Democrats). So a Turner win would seem to predict a larger Republican majority in Congress come 2012. That would surely be bad news for a president who is already finding it impossible to move legislation through a hostile House.
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