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Significant Digits For Friday, Jan. 4, 2019

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the numbers tucked inside the news. And the new Congress has arrived.


111 new elected congresspeople

The brand new, 116th Congress officially took its seats yesterday. It includes 111 newly elected representatives and senators. The members of the freshmen class include 42 women and 24 people of color, and they make up “the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House.” [The New York Times]


220 votes

Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House yesterday for the second time, winning 220 votes of the 430 cast. Fifteen Democrats defected, with three of those voting “present.” Pelosi is the first person in more than 60 years to reclaim the gavel. [Roll Call]


-15 point net favorability

Pelosi is rather unpopular, with a -15 point net favorability rating according to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average. However, “virtually all congressional leaders are unpopular in modern U.S. politics,” my colleague Perry Bacon Jr. writes. Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Pelosi (the first time around), Dennis Hastert and Newt Gingrich ended their speakerships with -5, -14, -27, -9 and -13 net approval ratings in Gallup polling, respectively. [FiveThirtyEight]


77 nominees

On Wednesday evening, hours before the beginning of the new Congress, the old Senate confirmed by voice vote 77 Trump nominees in a “rare moment of bipartisanship.” Those confirmations included an ambassador to war-torn Yemen, a director of National Drug Control Policy and a Census director for the contentious 2020 Census. [CBS News]


42-year history

For the first time in the 42-year history of the modern budget process, according to The Atlantic, a Congressional transfer of power has taken place with major parts of the federal government shut down. That fact could hamper Democrats’ ability to “fully celebrate their first House majority in eight years” and to “swiftly act on their agenda.” [The Atlantic]


1 of 3 Democrats

Nevertheless, Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democrat from California, announced yesterday his renewed plan to introduce articles of impeachment against President Trump. Alongside Al Green of Texas and Steve Cohen of Tennessee, Sherman was one of three Democrats to introduce such resolutions last year. Two votes on those earlier resolutions failed 364-58 and 355-66. [CNN]


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Oliver Roeder is a senior writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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