AP analysis: Democrats may benefit from gerrymandering
AP analysis: Democrats may benefit from gerrymandering
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An Associated Press analysis of U.S. House and state house and assembly seats indicates that politically gerrymandering has helped tilt power to Republicans nationally.
The AP also calculated efficiency gap scores for the U.S. House elections, though experts caution those measurements are less statistically meaningful in states with few districts.
The AP used a mathematical formula to determine the effects of gerrymandering, in which the party in power alters voting districts to its advantage, in federal and state legislative races across the country.
The AP report singled out Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida, and Virginia as examples of battleground states where Republican-led redistricting after the 2010 census led to a large GOP advantage in elections for the U.S. House and state legislatures.
Republicans won 64 out of 100 seats, giving them a majority for the first time in almost 100 years.
The strategy is for the majority party to create as many safe seats for its own candidates as possible. But many Democratic candidates will be facing a stacked deck as Virginia is one of several states where favorably drawn districts have given Republicans a measurable advantage in past elections, an Associated Press analysis shows.
Maine Democrats and Republicans were mostly happy with a reapportionment that left the current congressional districts mostly intact.
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Republicans control both legislative chambers and hold all statewide offices.
Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who saw his Cleveland district eliminated after the 2010 Census and his home drawn into that of a fellow Democrat, said there's "no question" districts are unfair - though he holds both parties culpable.
"Republicans have done a good job of targeting those areas and getting good candidates and putting a lot of money into marginal districts, which they tend to win", he said.
The analysis is based on the "efficiency gap" formula developed by University of Chicago law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. A majority of Democrats - 55 percent - called it an isolated incident, while 37 percent of Republicans said the same. Nevada's districts were decided by a court, but Republicans complained at the time that they appeared more favorable to Democrats. Idaho has a 13 percent efficiency gap heavily favoring Republican congressional candidates.
In Pennsylvania, Republicans won 13 of the 18 congressional seats past year, three more than would be expected based on the party's vote share, according to the AP analysis. But in the end, Maine's districts remained much the same as they had been even as gerrymandering produced odd-shaped districts in other states.
Democratic Sen. Matt Jones was a House representative appointed to the 2011 legislative reapportionment committee.
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