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How many seats did Democrats lose in redistricting?

by: Left Coast Libertarian

Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 23:26:35 PM EST


I wanted to see how the 2012 congressional elections would've gone if the states weren't drawn by partisan legislatures. I drew the states in DRA using the following criteria: 1) No consideration for Obama-McCain 2) Compact, keeping counties mostly intact and respecting COI 3) Keeping majority-minority districts.
Left Coast Libertarian :: How many seats did Democrats lose in redistricting?
I restricted my drawing to states drawn by partisan legislatures. While some other states may have had maps that favored one party or another they were, theoretically, drawn in a non-partisan or bi-partisan fashion.

In order to determine who would've won I gave the party a pick-up if the difference between old and new Obama-McCain would've been enough to flip the district when added to the actual result. If a district went from McCain by 5 to Obama by 5 and was decided by less than 10 points, it was a flip.

There were some districts where the congressional result was one-sided due to one party not really trying. If the new district was in swing territory I gave that party a 0.5 district pick-up. If a district moved so far that it was D+5 or R+5 I gave it to the other party regardless of congressional result. If there was no real change in the district, I kept it with the party that won it.

Maryland - It's a pity that amendment didn't pass. My map has Republican leaning districts north of Baltimore and in Western Maryland and a swing district between Baltimore and Washington. They weren't Republican enough for me to give the GOP full wins.
Result: Republicans +1.5

Ohio - My map created swing districts in Cincinnati, northern Ohio, southeast Ohio, the Cleveland suburbs, and a Democratic district in Canton-Akron. Probably a little generous to Democrats.
Result: Democrats +3.0

Illinois - Roskum and Lipinski's districts turn into swing districts, but they cancel each other out. My draw for Walsh, Dold, and Schilling would've resulted in Republican wins.
Result: Republicans +3.0

Pennsylvania - It didn't change nearly as much as I would've thought. Kelly's Erie district becomes swingy, as does Charlie Dent's Lehigh Valley. Mike Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach see no real change in their districts since Allyson Schwartz takes up Northeast Philadelphia and lower Montgomery. Pat Meehan's district was drawn in all of Delaware and part of Chester counties and becomes swing.
Result: Democrats +1.5

Texas - This isn't nearly as bad as I thought it'd be. Democrats would gain an Austin district and a Hispanic district in Dallas county. Houston is a little funky. Culbertson's district becomes swingy, but so does Gene Green's Hispanic majority district.
Result: Democrats +2.0

Georgia - Sanford Bishop and Rob Woodall end up in swing districts.
Result: No change

Massachusetts - While Keating's district becomes a bit swingy, it probably wasn't swingy enough to be competitive.
Result: No change

Indiana - there were a few changes, but they were mostly in safe Republican districts. IN-2 and IN-8 showed no real change.
Result: No change

North Carolina - NC-8 and NC-9 would've been Obama won districts and gone Democratic. NC-11 becomes swingy.
Result: Democrats +2.5

Wisconsin - Because the state has rural Republican/Democratic mixes, there was real change in WI-1, 7, or 8. Tom Petri's district did move to swing territory.
Result: Democrats +0.5

Michigan - MI-7 and MI-8 become Democratic enough that they'd have flipped. MI-4 and MI-10 become swingy, but do does MI-12.
Result: Democrats +2.5

Florida - This is another one that I expected to go more Democratic. I got rid of the snake-like FL-5 and ended up with a swing district in Jacksonville and Bill Young's St. Petersburg district becomes swing. It's a little tricky in Dade County. FL-26 would become more Republican and FL-27 more Democratic. I counted them as cancelling each other out. The only real flip is that Democratic gain a second Orlando area seat.
Result: Democrats +1.0

Overall, the non-partisan redistricting would've resulted in Democrats picking up 8.5 more seats, for a total of 209.5. This is about 1-2 below what I expected, but it still would've been a nice gain. Contrary to what the Democratic meme is on the web Democrats wouldn't have won 218 seats with non-partisan redistricting everywhere.  

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True
That Democrats would not have won the house, but things would have been much more closer.

It speaks to the Republican advantage in the house due to where and who their voters are.

33/M/D/NY-01 DKE:Socks The Cat


Less R advantage and more D disadvantage
The Democratic party, particularly in the last 4 years, has gotten increasingly reliant on winning obscene margins in small, demographically similar areas while holding on to about 40% of the voters elsewhere.  Republican's just don't have that problem--their heavily stacked Demographic (Southern Whites) are fairly intermingled with staunchly Democratic South Blacks in almost the perfect mix to win the most seats with the least wasted votes.

23, Libertarian Republican CA-18
Liberals dream things that never were and ask why not.  Conservatives shout back "Because it won't work"


[ Parent ]
The Democratic win becomes misleading
Take Washington and Minnesota, two states with no majority minority districts that were redistricted by a bi-partisan panel and a court. Democrats won the congressional vote in Washington 54%-46%, but only 51%-49% if you exclude WA-7. They won Minnesota 56%-44%, but only 54%-46% if you exclude MN-5.

Jose Serrano won his district 97%-3%. When you have that, you should win nationwide.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
looks like
You skipped Missouri.
While the state legislative maps are drawn by commission (and courts when they deadlock); the congressional was drawn by the Republican legislature over Nixon's veto.

My own map: Some candidates more vulnerable in the primaries, but no change in general elections.

42 Male Republican, Maryland Heights, MO (MO-2). Previously lived in both Memphis and Nashville.


I considered this
And drew a map last night. If you try to maximize the Black population in MO-1 you are going to come up with an MO-2 that Democrats won't win.  

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2

[ Parent ]
what was actually drawn for #1 is more effective Democratic vote sink
They included the 90% white but Solid Democratic voting areas in #1 (SW quadrent of St Louis City and parts of University City), while leaving some 70% White but lean D areas in #2.
(Max possible AA would have about .4% more AA than actually drawn)

Both mine and as drawn give Democrats a shot for #2 in 2020 given demographic trends if its also a D year. (#1 is bleeding Democrats into #2; Republicans are moving out of #2 and into #3, there's little undeveloped land in #2 for Republicans to move into as it was virtually all placed in #3.) For 2022, a Republican legislature would easily fix it by expanding #1 to take in more Democrats.

42 Male Republican, Maryland Heights, MO (MO-2). Previously lived in both Memphis and Nashville.


[ Parent ]
Pennsylvania
I suspect the seat we would have been most likely to lose was PA-11, which was D+4 going into 2012 and Obama performed pretty well there compared to 2008.  It always was a harder D+4 than other seats.

28, Republican, PA-6

PA-11 and 17
My PA-17 was Luzerne and Lackawanna counties, along with most of Monroe county and ended up 57.6%-41.4% Obama-McCain. Thus, my PA-11 consisted of the middle of the state. If you want to call my PA-17, PA-11 then you with PA-17 now that Holden isn't running.

You end up with a PA-7 and PA-15 similar to what they were in the old map.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
Pennsylvania
  I tried drawing a clean PA map before the 2012 general.  I gave Schwartz an all-MontCo CD3, so the Dems probably pick up my CD4 in Lower Bucks+NE Philly .  I tried to ignore incumbency, so I paired Gerlach and Meehan in Deleware+Chester CD6 Obama won by about 12 points in '08.  Gerlach or Fitzpatrick might run in my GOP-leaning CD7 (all of Berks and the north parts of MontCo and Bucks).
 My CD8(Lehigh+Northampton+most of Carbon) is lean D or tossup with Dent.  McCain carried my CD9(Dauphin+Lebanon+most of Schuylkill), but Holden would likely be safe there.  My CD11(Luzerne+Lackawanna+Monroe) is likely or safe D.  My Erie-based CD17 stays out of the Pittsburgh area and is probably an open-seat tossup.
 LCL's method would probably rate my map as a 3.0 or 3.5 Dem gain.

35, conservative R, lives in PA-14, grew up in TX

[ Parent ]
Hmmm...
My Erie based district is also a toss-up, D+0.5. My Lehigh district is also a toss-up, D+0.5. My Luzerne+Lackawanna+Monroe district is Safe D, but they won that district. So we're the same here.

Now I think you're assuming that Holden wins a district that's something like R+9 under McCain. He might have but he'd be the only one. And he lost a primary and didn't run in the 2012 general. I don't like to make the leap that Democrats would run the perfect candidate in a district and win it, because I didn't assume Republicans would run a perfect candidate in another district. It's a leap.

So the big difference between yours and mine is the Philly metro. If I take the Black neighborhoods in Delco out of PA-2 and put it entirely in the city, PA-7 goes from swing to Democratic. On the other hand, none of the other districts change. Adding some of NE Philly to Fitzpatrick doesn't change his district much. I don't see how you end up with a Democratic district because PA-1 and PA-2 take up all the Democratic areas of the city.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
Pennsylvania
Thank you for the quick reply.  My Holden district is probably bluer than the one he won five times in the 2000s, so I think he would hold it.
  I left some of DelCo in PA-1, so my NE Philly district has more Dems than yours.  My DelCo/Chester district is probably about D+3.  Elsewhere, my Erie district is probably slightly redder than yours and my Lehigh district slightly bluer.  My PA-18 becomes less red but probably still safe with Murphy.  I could provide more detailed numbers soon if I open my map file again.

35, conservative R, lives in PA-14, grew up in TX

[ Parent ]
Where did the old NJ-08 go?
This was a big an unexpected Dem loss. So -1 for the D's in New Jersey thanks to a really good GOP map.

[ Parent ]
I don't see how that was unexpected.
Subtract Perth Amboy and the 4 northeast districts had population for barely over 3 districts.

The rest of the map is of course well designed but that is another story.

27, R, PA-07.


[ Parent ]
agreed


42 Male Republican, Maryland Heights, MO (MO-2). Previously lived in both Memphis and Nashville.

[ Parent ]
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