AP analysis: Pennsylvania gerrymander gave GOP a big boost
AP analysis: Pennsylvania gerrymander gave GOP a big boost
26 June, 2017, 01:40
The nationwide study categorized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats, including Indiana's 100 House seats and nine congressional races up for election past year.
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.
Across the state, the number of Missouri House races lacking Democratic or Republican candidates has risen significantly since legislative districts were last redrawn after the 2010 Census. But Republicans have a 7-4 majority in the state's congressional delegation and now control the state House 66-34. That helped provide the GOP with a comfortable majority that stood at 241-194 over Democrats after the 2016 elections - a 10 percentage point margin in seats, even though Republican candidates received just 1 percentage point more total votes nationwide.
In Texas, Republicans gained almost four excess congressional seats compared to projections from a typical votes-to-seats ratio, according to the AP's analysis.
Republican lawmakers have steadfastly defended the state districts lines as legal and fair, and noted that many GOP candidates have won in districts that Democratic in presidential elections.
Republicans went into the map-drawing exercise - required every decade after the census - to protect their 12 incumbents in Congress, the result of a 2010's GOP wave election on a map also drawn by Republicans a decade earlier, and to try to pick up a 13th seat.
In Pennsylvania, Republicans won 13 of the 18 congressional seats a year ago, three more than would be expected based on the party's vote share, according to the AP analysis. It cuts through three counties - and has three House seats, two held by Democrats.
The analysis measuring the "efficiency gap" shows Kentucky Republicans won about three more seats than they should have given their share of statewide votes.
A separate statistical analysis conducted for AP by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project found the extreme Republican advantages in some states were no fluke.
The efficiency gap method was designed by University of Chicago Law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and researcher Eric McGhee at the Public Policy Institute of California.
The methodology has been cited as "corroborative evidence" in a ruling that Wisconsin Republicans engaged in unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering for state Assembly districts.
The "efficiency gap" formula creates a way to measure whether gerrymandering has helped a political party extend its power.
While it would be easy to say Republicans built their power because they draw the political boundaries for Congress and the Legislature, it's not as simple as that. The analysis placed Ohio's "efficiency gap" near the top for both state and congressional races. The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear that case, potentially affecting voting across the U.S.
Republicans control both legislative chambers and hold all statewide offices.
Democratic Sen. Matt Jones was a House representative appointed to the 2011 legislative reapportionment committee.
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