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  Politics and Elections
   2012 Elections - Redistricting
Monday, March 5, 2012

2012 redistricting update posted
I've updated Election Projection's 2012 Redistricting Page.  With the Texas map now settled, we are almost to the end of the process.  Only New York, New Hampshire and Kansas have yet to draw new maps, and only Florida has yet to settle a court challenge to its new map.  The rest of the states are done.

Texas' compromise map is truly that.  In the original map drawn by the Republican legislature, Charlie Cook showed the GOP gaining 3 of Texas' four new seats.  The counter map drawn by the courts gave Democrats 2 seats and Republican 2 seats according to Cook.  With this final map, Cook gives the GOP 1.5 seats and the Democrats 2.5.



Filed under:  2012 Redistricting  Texas 2012  TX House 2012 



posted by Scott Elliott at 8:44am 03/05/12::
Saturday, February 18, 2012
2012 redistricting update posted
I just posted the latest status of the 2012 redistricting process.  The big story comes out of Florida where Governor Rick Scott has signed into law a Republican-drawn map that solidifies the party's large House delegation advantage.  Florida Democrats plan to challenge the map in court, so we'll have to see if it holds up.

We're also still eagerly awaiting the resolution of Texas' long-running redistricting battles in court.  For detailed and frequent updates, I recommend this site.

The overall picture is becoming more complete as the heart of the election season approaches.  Forty-one states, representing 318 congressional districts, have either settled on a final map or claim only one statewide district.  Four more states, Connecticut and Minnesota along with Florida and Texas, are slogging through court challenges.  That leaves just 5 states that have yet to pass a new district map.



Filed under:  2012 Redistricting  Florida 2012  Texas 2012 



posted by Scott Elliott at 3:29pm 02/18/12::
Friday, January 6, 2012
Redistricting update
Three days removed from Iowa and four days ahead of New Hampshire seems like a good time to post an update on the congressional battle behind the scenes going on across the nation.  I'm talking about redistricting, of course, the decennial event that redraws House district boundaries in all but seven one-district states.

Election Projection has a handy redistricting page with at-a-glance tables and maps that track the status of the process in all 43 multi-district states.  This week, I've updated the page a couple of times, moving some states into the "complete" column and refreshing the expected impact of redistricting on the partisan balance of power in the House.  Ironically, with all the moving and rearranging, the net of it all will be no change according to Charlie Cook's redistricting estimations.

Check back often to see how things are shaping up.  I'll be updating the redistricting page as changes occur and more states complete the process.  The big unknown right now is the state of Texas.  After weeks of numerous court actions and several false starts, the Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday on a district map controversy that has drawn the constitutionality of parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into question.



Filed under:  2012 Redistricting  Texas 2012 



posted by Scott Elliott at 10:59pm 01/06/12::
Monday, November 7, 2011
Redistricting scoreboard update
This weekend, I updated EP's redistricting 2012 page to reflect current status.  Because the last update was way back in August, there were plenty of changes in this latest edition.  As of Saturday and according to The Cook Political Report, 24 states with 219 congressional seats have completed the redistricting process.  Seven states have just one seat and don't need to conduct any redistricting discussions.  Still unresolved are 19 states with 209 seats, 4 of which, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico and Texas, approved maps which are under court challenge.

The impact of redistricting at this point has moved from a complete wash to a projected gain of one seat for Republicans.  Cook Political reports that Republicans are benefiting from a more "ruthless" approach to the process.  However, this ambition may backfire in states such as Texas where a court ruling could cost the GOP several seats.  So, the final verdict on how the parties fare in this process remains to be seen.



Filed under:  2012 Redistricting 



posted by Scott Elliott at 10:48am 11/07/11::
Monday, October 10, 2011
2012 Elections - First look at the Electoral College
Three years ago, Barak Obama breezed into the White House winning 28 states, the District of Columbia and one electoral vote in Nebraska.  That's 365 electoral votes total.  In the process, he amassed 69.46 million votes, over 7 million more votes than any presidential candidate in United States history.  His margin of victory over GOP nominee John McCain surpassed 9 million votes.  Simple math would predict a large erosion of support would have to befall President Obama for him to fail to attain a second term.  However, looking at the Electoral College map, it isn't all that hard to see a Republican challenger getting the needed 270 EVs to unseat the incumbent.

Let's start with the closest of state races from 2008.  President Obama won North Carolina (0.32%), Indiana (1.04%), Nebraska's 2nd congressional district (1.19%) and Florida (2.82%) by less than 3%.  Assuming equal distribution across the nation, a GOP-ward swing of a mere 1.5% in the popular vote would flip these states to red and narrow Obama's EV margin to 305-235.  And if his portion of the popular vote were to decline just 3% more, Ohio (4.59%), Virginia (6.29%) and Colorado (8.95%) would give their 40 electoral votes and an electoral victory to the Republican nominee.  So, in light of the numbers, it is clear that the 2012 election will be won or lost in these three states.

Conspicuously absent from this winning GOP scenario are any of the traditional battleground states of Iowa, Nevada, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and New Hampshire.  In 2000, George W. Bush needed all the states mentioned previously as well as Nevada and New Hampshire to get to a scant 271-267 electoral vote majority.  Next year, the GOP candidate can lose both Nevada and New Hampshire (10 EVs total) and still reach a more comfortable majority with 275 electoral votes.  Redistricting over the last two censuses has shifted at least 14 electoral votes to redder states and made electing a Republican president structurally easier.

Compounding Obama's re-election difficulties are his dismal approval numbers.  Realistically, a sitting president with a job approval rating under 45% has very little chance of winning 4 more years in office.  These numbers could improve, but with 13 months until Election Day, the odds are long that they would improve enough to for him to win.  Nate Silver actually posted the following graphic in an article he wrote back in January concerning this very phenomenon.

From Silver's analysis, Obama's current approval of 40% maps to about a 40% chance of re-election.  Considering the structural changes due to redistricting, I'd peg his chances at 35% or so right now.



Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Redistricting  President Obama  2012 Presidential Election 



posted by Scott Elliott at 11:25pm 10/10/11::
Friday, July 8, 2011
Updates to EP's Redistricting 2012 page
Several states have completed the process of redrawing congressional district lines for the next ten years.  To reflect progress made, I've updated Election Projection's Redistricting 2012 webpage. If you click on this link, you'll see the following changes.

  • Added Latest Updates section
  • Moved Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma from Ongoing to Complete
  • Moved Arkansas and Iowa from Plan passed to Complete
  • Added twitter redistricting feed
  • Updated House change to reflect new Cook Political Report's estimations
  • If you haven't seen EP's redistricting page yet, check it out - and come back often to see where the parties stand in the struggle to gain once-in-a-decade electoral advantages.  For your convenience, there is also a new link at the top of this page under the banner.



    Filed under:  2012 Redistricting 



    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:29pm 07/08/11::
    Monday, June 13, 2011
    Redistricting: Where the big changes look to be
    Reapportionment after the 2010 census has shifted congressional seats and electoral votes around in advance of next year's elections.  Texas is the big winner with 4 new new seats; New York and Ohio both lost 2 seats.  While these shifts may produce straightforward changes in the Electoral College, they don't necessarily signal comparable differences in the partisan makeup of the House of Representatives.  Case in point:  The four news Texas seats are expected to break 2 and 2 between Democrats and Republicans, resulting in no net partisan change in the Texas House delegation.  Likewise, Republicans and Democrats should each lose 1 seat in New York.  Again, no net change.

    That doesn't mean we won't see significant changes in delegations in other states, however.  In fact, two of the three states set to produce the biggest partisan shifts did not gain or lose any House seats this year.  With the release of California's proposed redistricting map, Democrats are salivating at the potential to gain 3 to 5 seats.  Democrats also expect to gain no less than 4 seats in Illinois where they control the redistricting process entirely.  On the Republican side, complete control in my home state of North Carolina could move 3 seats from blue to red next year, based solely on redistricting.  Overall, reapportionment and redistricting across the nation appears to be pretty much a partisan wash, though California's new map may tip the balance slightly in the Democrats' favor.



    Filed under:  2012 Redistricting 



    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:42am 06/13/11::
    Tuesday, June 7, 2011
    Redistricting page online now
    It's been a long while coming, but I've developed a new redistricting page here at Election Projection to the point where I feel comfortable publishing it.  Also, I've added a new "Redistricting news" section to the main page.  You can find it in the right side bar above the political quick hits section.  I'll be posting links to news stories covering the dozens of redistricting processes now well underway across the country.



    Filed under:  2012 Redistricting  Website administration 



    posted by Scott Elliott at 4:18pm 06/07/11::
    Thursday, March 10, 2011
    Reapportionment scorecard
    I'm still working on a redistricting section to track how congressional districts are being redrawn for the next ten years.  In the meantime, here is a chart listing the winners and losers of House seats from the 2010 census.
    Reapportionment after Census 2010
    StateHouse SeatsElectoral VotesChange
    Arizona911+1
    Florida2729+2
    Georgia1416+1
    Illinois1820-1
    Iowa46-1
    Louisiana68-1
    Massachusetts911-1
    Michigan1416-1
    Missouri810-1
    Nevada46+1
    New Jersey1214-1
    New York2729-2
    Ohio1618-2
    Pennsylvania1820-1
    South Carolina79+1
    Texas3638+4
    Utah46+1
    Washington1012+1
    Blue states were won by Obama in 2008, red states went to McCain.

    As you can see Texas is the big winner, gaining a whopping 4 seats.  Florida is next among gainers with 2.  On the other side are New York and Ohio, who will see their congressional delegations reduced by 2 each come January, 2013.

    These changes give red 2008 states a net increase of 4 electoral votes.  However, if the new numbers had been in place 3 years ago, Barack Obama would have beaten John McCain by a still convincing 361-177 margin.

    Correction: Originally, I listed Florida among McCain states in 2008.  That, of course, was incorrect.  I've updated the table to reflect the accurate picture.



    Filed under:  2012 Redistricting 



    posted by Scott Elliott at 6:39pm 03/10/11::
    Monday, February 28, 2011
    2012 Redistricting updates coming soon
    Program update here at Election Projection. Starting soon, I will be publishing a section on the redistricting process after the census of 2010. Reapportionment has been finalized, but the real fun of redistricting is just getting underway. Check back here often for state-by-state updates as they come in.



    Filed under:  2012 Elections  2012 Redistricting 



    posted by Scott Elliott at 12:13pm 02/28/11::

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