Republicans Gain 6 Electoral Votes
Republicans may be in the midst of a losing at the polls but they continue to pick up seats in the House and Electoral College thanks to the decennial census.
Texas will lose some influence in Washington when President George W. Bush leaves the White House, but a new study finds that the Lone Star state will be the big winner in the upcoming congressional reapportionment. The study, from the firm Election Data Services, projects that Texas will pick up three seats in Congress. Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Utah would gain one seat each. Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania would each lose one.
The new study’s findings highlight trends that have been in place for the last two decades: Population growth has been stagnating in the Northeast and the Midwest and surging in the Southwest and through much of the South.
The projections offer a glimmer of hope for congressional Republicans, battered after losing 51 House seats in the last two election cycles. Of the eight states it says are likely to lose seats, seven will be represented by majority-Democratic delegations at the beginning of the 111th Congress. Meanwhile, three of the six fast-growing states have majority GOP delegations — and President Bush won all six states in both 2000 and 2004.
The old saw in comparative politics studies of the developing world is “the election is a census, and the census is an election.” It’s not nearly as true in the United States. The Deep South was once Solid Democrat, then Solid Republican; now it’s a mixed bag. Virginia, where I live, was thought of as a Red State as recently as six weeks ago but it has a Democratic governor, two Democratic U.S. Senators, and six of its eleven U.S. Representatives are Democrats. California was a slam dunk Republican state at the presidential level for decades that became a lock for Democrats starting in 1992. Things change.
There are no signs that the movement from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt is about to change. It’s easy to imagine, for example, the domestic auto industry surviving only in the South. But these people moving from the Northeast to the South bring their attitudes and cultures with them, which largely explains why Virginia and North Carolina (and the greater Atlanta area) are suddenly so friendly to Democrats.
In the interim, though, the Republicans will take any help they can get.