New Study Projects Big Gains For GOP From Redistricting

A new projection of Congressional reapportionment shows a dramatic shift to traditionally Republican states in the South and Southwest.

A new estimate of how Congressional Districts will be reapportioned after final Census numbers are released shows yet another shift of Congressional power to areas where Republicans are already strong:

A new study of population figures offers some unexpected predictions on Congressional reapportionment, which will alter the balance of power of different regions of the country based on the 2010 census.

The report by Election Data Services Inc. shows changes to the initial predictions about how many Congressional seats Minnesota, Missouri, New York and Florida will be allotted. The report states that change “was not evident as recently as nine months ago.”

(…)

In all, eight states are estimated to gain at least one seat. They include Texas, which would pick up four seats, Florida’s two seats, and six states with one each: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

Ten states are slated to lose seats, including two each for Ohio and New York. States losing one seat are: Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Coming close to losing seats were Nebraska and Rhode Island, which, if current population trends continue, will lose seats in the 2020 reapportionment, according to the report.

Besides Louisiana, which lost population as a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the states losing seats are confined to the Midwest, Rust Belt and Northeast. The states gaining seats are in all in the South and West.

This will have implications not only for how the battle for Congress shapes up in 2012 and beyond, but also for Presidential elections from 2012 through 2020. Assuming these numbers hold up, Texas would now have 38 Electoral votes, and Florida would have 29. Ohio, meanwhile, would drop from 20 Electoral Votes to 18, and New York and Pennsylvania,  which at one point had 45 and 38 Electoral Votes respectively, would drop to 29 and 20. Obviously, this reflects a trend that’s been in play for some time now as populations shift from the Northeast and Mid-West to the South and Southwest.

There is, however, one striking difference this time around. After the 1990 Census, California gained 7 seats, mostly at the expense of states like New York, Illinois, and Michigan. This year, California is projected not to gain a single seat. Obviously, this is a reflection of the fact, for the past decade or so, California’s economy has not measured up to what it was in the 1980s and 90s, and the shift of population to states like Nevada, Utah, and Arizona is arguably a reflection of the anecdotal evidence we’ve seen of people leaving the state for tax and business environments that are far friendlier. That should be a lesson for California politicians, though I doubt they’ll learn it.

These numbers also demonstrate in importance of the Governor’s races and state legislative races that are taking place this year. In many states, the people elected in November will draw the Congressional Districts that we will live with for the next ten years or more. The fact that it’s happening in what looks like a Republican year should be something that worries Democrats deeply.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, Congress, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Andy says:

    @Doug,

    “Big gains” is somewhat overstated, and the advantage is really confined to electoral vote tallies, where Republicans might end up +6 or so. I suppose that’s enough to flip a really close election.

    As far as Congress goes, remember that adding a seat to a Republican state is not the same as adding a Republican seat, especially if the extra population is primarily immigrant. In fact the Democrats could easily end up with the advantage because of Voting Rights Act rules about minority representation. HuffPo had a good rundown of how that works:

    “Over the last ten years, 80 percent of the population growth in this country has come from minorities, overwhelmingly in metropolitan areas. When states like Texas are awarded new congressional districts (they are expected to get four this cycle), those districts will have to be drawn in the same metropolitan areas where such high minority population growth is occurring. … This means that these new districts are going to be drawn in areas that are going to be highly populated with Democrats, ones that are almost certainly going to send Democrats to Congress. … In fact, of the 10 new districts expected to be allocated, there is reason to believe that at least 8 of them will end up in Democratic hands.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dylan-loewe/debunking-the-redistricti_b_714276.html

  2. So what you’re likely to get are a few metropolitan districts that majority black, while the suburban districts become more white.

    Even if Democrats end up taking some of these seats, they’re far more likely to be Blue Dogs than anything else.

  3. PD Shaw says:

    Back in the early 90s, I had a friend whose summer job was working on redistricting in Florida to create minority districts. She was very Democratic, very liberal. When asked what she was doing that summer, she would say, creating Republican districts in the Florida panhandle.

  4. Nightrider says:

    Sure, some of the new districts might be Democratic, but for Presidential elections this is mostly good news for GOP in the near term.

    As to whether California needs to learn a lesson because of its slow-down in growth, well, one can certainly argue whether their policies are good or bad, but if I still lived there I’d be happy about slower growth. Traffic, excessive home prices, traffic, traffic . . . growth ain’t all it is cracked up to be.