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Mon Dec 31, 2012, 05:18 PM

Gerrymanders, Part 1: Busting the both-sides-do-it myth

First in a series from Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium (WP's Best Election Modeler).

In this and coming posts I will address the following topics:

Part 1: Developing a “tell” for partisan gerrymandering, and evidence for partisan asymmetry.
Part 2: An estimate of how many people have been disenfranchised.
Part 2/3: Steps that would re-enfranchise voters by 2020 or sooner.

There are some simple lessons to take away from this.

Republican-controlled redistricting led to a swing in margin of at least* 26 seats, almost as large as the 31-seat majority of the new Congress. Those actions created a new power reality in the House – or more accurately, retained the old power reality.

In the states listed above, the net effect of both parties’ redistricting combined was R+11.5 seats. Putting all of this redistricting into nonpartisan commissions would lead to a swing of at least 23 seats. The resulting seat count would be 213 D, 222 R or even closer. It is possible that in the absence of partisan gerrymandering, control would have been within reach for the Democrats.


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