Friday, 24 November, 2017

AP analysis shows more unopposed Missouri races, GOP edge

Poll Democrats Republicans Divided on Virginia Shooting Motivation AP analysis shows more unopposed Missouri races, GOP edge
Jerome Frank | 26 June, 2017, 02:04

Republicans dominate the Wyoming Legislature without relying on the old political trick of gerrymandering, or adjusting political boundaries to gain an unfair advantage in elections, an analysis by The Associated Press found.

In many other states, the analysis found, the redrawing of congressional district lines skewed the 2016 elections toward Republicans. Republican candidates for Ohio's U.S. House seats won 58 percent of the votes but 75 percent of the state's 16 congressional seats. The formula essentially measures and compares each party's wasted votes — those going to the victor in excess of what's needed for victory — in an election and shows that Virginia's GOP votes are more efficiently spread out than Democratic votes.

The efficiency gap is the subject of a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The outcome was already cooked in, if you will, because of the way the districts were drawn", said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Democrat in the 1980s. The majority and minority party leaders in each legislative chamber each select one person to serve on the commission; the state chairmen of the Republican and Democratic parties also each select a commissioner.

The Michigan House redistricting effort was led by then-state Rep. Pete Lund, who denied gerrymandering districts to favor Republicans.

"There are significantly more pro-Republican maps at the moment than there are pro-Democratic maps", Nick Stephanopoulos, a University of Chicago law professor who helped create the statistical method used in the new AP analysis, told the Associated Press. It cuts through three counties - and has three House seats, two held by Democrats. Barely one-fourth of the new districts were labeled as competitive between Republicans and Democrats. It was the opposite of 2014, when a similar analysis showed Democrats had a slight advantage in the same districts. Nevada's districts were decided by a court, but Republicans complained at the time that they appeared more favorable to Democrats. Democrats won 37 of 65 House seats, theoretically five more than would be expected based on their statewide vote share.

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.

Republican critics of Democratic concerns over gerrymandering point to what they say is Democrats' poor campaigning, their concentration in cities-a sort of "voluntary gerrymandering", some say-and their lack of incumbents to explain the Republican voting advantage.

Democratic Sen. Matt Jones was a House representative appointed to the 2011 legislative reapportionment committee. The AP analysis shows that congressional lines in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas have been drawn in a way that gives Republicans an edge.

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