POLITICS
10/30/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bailout Bottom Line: The Safer The Seat, The Closer To Yes

Once the press is finished chewing over whether it was the monolithic left or the monolithic right that doomed the passage of whatever rough beast had been cooked up to slouch off with several hundred billion taxpayer dollars, perhaps someone will notice that voting trends today reflected a deeper problem with our government -- the tendency of those with safe seats to gamble more. At 538.com, the indispensable Nate Silver breaks down the data:

Among 38 incumbent congressmen in races rated as "toss-up" or "lean" by Swing State Project, just 8 voted for the bailout as opposed to 30 against: a batting average of .211.

By comparison, the vote among congressmen who don't have as much to worry about was essentially even: 197 for, 198 against.

Silver adds an even more telling update:

A helpful reader named Matt Glassman passed along the fact that, among 26 congressmen NOT running for re-election (almost all of whom are Republicans), 23 voted in favor of the bill, as opposed to 2 against and one abstaining.

So, why are we arguing about what impact John McCain had on this vote, exactly? By all indications, he had none.