If America were a functional democracy, Congress would have a veto-proof majority for leaving Iraq

This post, by Robert Naiman first appeared on the Just Foreign Policy Blog.

If Members of Congress voted on a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq based on whether more people in their districts favored or opposed such a timetable, it would pass the House by a margin of at least 418-17, and the Senate by a margin of 98-2. If only those Members voted yes who represent districts where at least 50% of the public supports such a timetable, it would still pass with a margin of at least 329-106 in the House and 78-22 in the Senate, a three-fourths majority in both chambers. In either case this would be far more than the margin needed to override a Presidential veto.

This conclusion is based on estimating opinion on withdrawal in 435 House districts and the 50 states by matching national poll data on a timetable for withdrawal, where the party affiliation of respondents is known (the Pew poll in March) with data on the partisan breakdown of individual districts (the 2004 Bush/Kerry result.) In other words, it assumes that Republicans in different parts of the country are equally likely to support a timetable for withdrawal, and the same for Democrats.

While this is surely not true, it is certainly true "on average" (by definition) and the results of this analysis are so lopsided that regional variation could not possibly affect the overall result that Congress would have a veto-proof majority for a timetable for withdrawal if Members voted their districts. The calculations are given in a spreadsheet here, where you can check the result for your own Congressional District.

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