This is a fact that many voters seem very resistant to, but it is quite true, and it becomes even more true the larger the governing body a candidate is running for, and the larger the population that governing body is making policy for.
Political scientist Hans Noel explains:
From the MOF point of view, I want to say, no Michael, don’t give in. You want a Republican administration, so vote for the Republican. The person is not even close to as important as the party. Not even close.
Why? Whoever is at the top of the ticket matters a lot, sure, but you can be sure that the rest of the administration will be filled with people from the same party. A party is a coalition. Just as finding the “real Romney” is a fool’s errand, so is insisting that the personality at the top of the ticket be the most importand thing you care about. You have a choice in November between two broad coalitions. One is left-leaning and will pay some attention to progressives but will also bring in moderates of various stripes. The other is right-leaning and will be responsive to the Tea Party and to moderate Republicans. That’s your choice in November. It’s so true that if some wizard blinked and Obama was the Republican candidate and Romney the Democratic candidate, I would switch my vote to stay with my party.
Now, Charney and others may respond, reasonably, that they think the orientation of the parties around their current ideologies is too messed up, and so fighting that orientation is job number one. Charney likes the term “consiberal,” which I think is a muddy concept, but I guess what he’s getting at is that he doesn’t want a Republican Party that is orientated around “conservatism” as an ideology, but something else. Which is simply to say that he (and many others) want a Republican Party that is a coalition with slightly different members, or with a different balance of power among those members.
If you’re basing your vote on whether you think an individual House candidate seems more likeable, rather than which party you want to control the House, you’re doing it wrong. In an ideal political system, the names of House candidates wouldn’t even appear on the ballot, just the party name.