Monday, March 2, 2009

Reapportionment 2011: The Red States Shall Rise Again

One of the often overlooked yet crucial determinants of U.S. House electoral success is the decennial process of reapportionment and redistricting. Every 10 years, the Federal Government undertakes the painstaking process of trying to determine how many people live in the United States and where. Based on those figures from the U.S. Census, Congress is then tasked with determining how many U.S. representatives each state will have. Once that is determined, each state, usually the state legislature and governor, perhaps with the aid of a neutral or bipartisan commission, redraws the district lines. It is far from an exact science and is susceptible to the worst forms of political power grabs--the 2003 Tom DeLay-led Texas redistricting being only the latest, most notorious example.

In just a year, the U.S. will begin the process anew. Ken Rudin of NPR has a nice piece on the potential winners and losers of the next census. One thing we know based on crude population numbers: a number of northern states will be giving up seats to those states in the South and West. According to Rudin, here is the best guess of what the seat swap will look like:

Simply based on electoral votes, the GOP will be the big winner in the next reapportionment. Five of the eight states set to gain seats are ruby red led by Texas which will pick up four and Arizona which will gain two. Most of the bleeding comes from the royal blue industrial Midwest and Northeast led by Ohio which will likely lose two. Post-Katrina Louisiana and red-leaning Missouri are the only exceptions. Using 2008 as a guide, if the prediction above holds true, the GOP will gain seven electoral votes just based on reapportionment. For those states losing seats, the battles over which party will take the hit will make for fascinating political theater and brass knuckle politics.


Erick said...

I'm pretty interested in seeing how congressional districts are redrawn, especially in states that had a shift in party control of redistricting. If there is substantial gerrymandering we could see major shifts in state delegations.

this guy said...


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