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Old 11-11-2012, 01:24 PM
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Default GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

More interesting numbers-crunching from election 2012

Quote:
Although a small number of ballots remain to be counted, as of this writing, votes for a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives outweigh votes for Republican candidates. Based on ThinkProgress’ review of all ballots counted so far, 53,952,240 votes were cast for a Democratic candidate for the House and only 53,402,643 were cast for a Republican — meaning that Democratic votes exceed Republican votes by more than half a million.
Thank you, SCOTUS!!


In this particular instance though, a blue-dog Democrat managed to fight through the redistricting.


And speaking of Blue Dogs, they saw their numbers shrink from 24 to 15. As a coalition Teabaggers only lost about as many seats as the Blue Dogs have left to them...
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

That is flawed thinking due to a misunderstanding as to how proportional representation works.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:31 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quite honestly this is a bipartisan problem. Most of Illinois' Democratic gains in the House was a result of gerrymandering.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

States should pass constitutional amendments requiring algorithmic redistricting.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

What? And trust our sacred voting and election institution to science? Surely you can't be serious.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
That is flawed thinking due to a misunderstanding as to how proportional representation works.
I understand what you are saying in terms of arguing the case based simply on total numbers -- but as it turns out, when the fine-grained results are analyzed, redistricting did skew the results in the House. According to Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium:

Quote:
Summary: My analysis indicates that redistricting has given Republicans an advantage of about 1.2% in national popular vote margin compared with pre-2010. In a close national Congressional race, which we have this year, this translates to an advantage of 13 seats. The effect is more than I was expecting.


...However, there is something we can answer: how much did the playing field change for the 2012 elections? In combination with what we know about pre-2012 outcomes, this would be a very useful quantity. We can do that by comparing the cumulative histograms:



The black curve shows data pre-redistricting, and red shows post-redistricting data. The curves are nearly overlapping…or are they? Let’s look closer. Zoom in to the middle 100 of the PVI’s:



The main point is this: this midrange is shifted to the left for the new districts. As a group, these middle 100 districts are somewhat more Republican-leaning than the middle 100 districts from 2008. They are not necessarily the same districts, but that does not matter for this level of analysis. In other words, at any given level of national partisanship, the number of districts that lean Republican is greater after redistricting.
This visual from the same article sums up the problem quite clearly for us non-math nerd/visual learner types:


Left: Eric Carle's caterpillar. Right: NC 12th District
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:55 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuss Apollo View Post
According to Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium:

Quote:
Summary: My analysis indicates that redistricting has given Republicans an advantage of about 1.2% in national popular vote margin compared with pre-2010.
1.2% seems pretty small when we consider that the Gop had control of 60% of the Governor seats.

I would have expected a much larger discrepancy.

Did he do any studies in years in which Dems controlled a majority of Governor seats just after a census just before a presidential election?
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:59 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

From your link:

Quote:
The Cook Political Report rates 211 House seats as solid or likely Republican, compared with 171 as solid or likely Democratic.
Did he account for the gop having a much higher quantity of 'safe-seats' which would account for much lower voting for those seats?
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:06 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Btw, redistricting in Maryland this year changed the congressional delegation from 6-2 dem to 7-1 dem.

Prior to the 2000 census Maryland had a delegation of 4-4.

So, in just a period of 12 years redistricting changed the ratio from 50-50 to 85-15.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuss Apollo View Post

Left: Eric Carle's caterpillar. Right: NC 12th District
Unfortunately, I don't think you can put all the blame for that particular district completely on the Republicans.

That's one of NC's black districts - because of certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act, NC and other states with a history of disenfranchising racial minorities are essentially required to create majority-minority districts so that they will be able to elect racial minorities to Congress.

Now, it happens to also be the case that in practice this has meant a change from splitting the black vote to packing it very tightly. While not quite as pernicious as the old way of gerrymandering their vote, it still has the effect of reducing their ability to influence elections.

They do not have to make such a tightly packed black district in order to satisfy the requirements of the VRA. And that district has existed in a very similar configuration even when Democrats were in charge of redistricting. In fact, at one point, that thin connecting area between Charlotte and Winston-Salem/Greensboro was actually just the highway (where of course, nobody lives) until a court threw it out and ruled that this was not an acceptable way to draw a district. So now they have to include some small towns between the urban black areas (but notice how it weaves between the Charlotte suburbs of Mooresville and Concord).
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Registered voters in Maryland are about 2-1 in favor of dems, 2 million to 1 million.

Should the proper representation in congress be 5-3?

http://www.elections.state.md.us/pre.../Statewide.pdf
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
Originally Posted by erimir View Post
That's one of NC's black districts - because of certain provisions of the Voting Rights Act, NC and other states with a history of disenfranchising racial minorities are essentially required to create majority-minority districts so that they will be able to elect racial minorities to Congress.
I think the supreme court will be looking at that aspect of the law this year.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:03 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Adams View Post
States should pass constitutional amendments requiring algorithmic redistricting.
How would that work?
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:16 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

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Originally Posted by MonCapitan2002 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Adams View Post
States should pass constitutional amendments requiring algorithmic redistricting.
How would that work?
Maryland would gain two gop representatives.
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Old 11-12-2012, 02:34 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

That's nice. The GOP would lose more seats. For the most part, states districted by Democrats have less disproportionate results (they get less of an advantage in their delegation relative to the statewide vote). Maryland is probably the most gerrymandered in favor of Democrats, so that's why you're focusing on it, as if it's representative.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, the GOP gained more like 4 seats (they have an 13-5 split in the House seats, despite the vote being close to split).

But keep talking like it's really something that hurting Republicans this cycle.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Again, you don't understand representative government. The state of PA should not be over represented by a single city.

Remember that if Philadelphia was in Delaware, PA votes gop for president.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Um, so if the state votes about equally for Democrats and Republicans, but the Democrats mostly live in the city, fuck the Democrats? They live in one place so their votes shouldn't count as much.

Yeah, but you're "not a conservative" or a Republican partisan :rolleyes:
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:46 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

You are still not understanding representative government.

We do not have a democratic majority government structure.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:47 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerome View Post
Again, you don't understand representative government. The state of PA should not be over represented by a single city.

Remember that if Philadelphia was in Delaware, PA votes gop for president.
:lol:

If Pennsylvania were not Pennsylvania, things sure would be different in Pennsylvania! This is a meaningful and non-trivial observation!
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:51 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Gerrymander it out of the State... Delaware would gain several dem congressmen and PA would lose several rep congressmen.

This would be a big net gain for the democrat party nationally.
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Old 11-12-2012, 03:54 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Jerome, you are still not understanding Constitutional government.

Sorry your god Romney lost.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:06 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Is there some constitutional provision against a city changing its state designation?
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

No.

But some other facts to contemplate!

If North and South Dakota merged, then they would only get 2 senators total instead of 4

If California split into three states (LA, the middle and San Francisco and north) then they would get 3x as many senators!

If the Las Vegas metro joined California, then California would get three more representatives and the rest of Nevada would get one.

If New York City and Long Island were their own state, they'd get their own senators!

If DC was merged with Virginia, then Virginia would be blue leaning and vote for Democrats more often than not.

If northern Florida merged with Georgia, then Florida would vote for Democrats most of the time!

This is fun!
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:28 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
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Is there some constitutional provision against a city changing its state designation?
Oh gosh, yes. Certainly where "changing its state designation" (weird way to put it) conflicts with state law, such as law defining state boundaries. See, e.g. Merrill v. Monticello, 138 U.S. 673 (1891); Hunter v. Pittsburgh, 207 U.S. 161 (1907) (holding that the state legislature has absolute authority over municipalities to the extent permitted by the state constitution.)
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:03 AM
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Default Re: GOP owes house majority to gerrymander

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonCapitan2002 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Adams View Post
States should pass constitutional amendments requiring algorithmic redistricting.
How would that work?
There are several possible methods. I would favor one that is a very short, easily understood program so it could be codified in the law clearly.

http://www.rangevoting.org/SplitLR.html provides such a method, but it has the downside of not taking into account any geographical or political features of the state (such as county boundaries). Now, gerrymandering doesn't necessarily do that either. I think my little county contains three different state senate districts, for instance. But it is seen by some as a desirable thing to do.


2010 Redistricting Results has some nice looking maps (and I prefer them to the stark geometric look given by the shortest splitline algorithm), but I'm not sure how it could actually be implemented into the law. My understanding is that it works by starting with the current, bullshit districts, and then swapping census blocks back and forth to improve the districts along certain criterion (having to do with the mean distance to the center of population within the district being minimized, or something). I haven't looked at the source code, but the short description makes it sound like a much more complicated algorithm.

There's also a long, pretty mathematical article about districting criteria here.

One of the problems here is that the format of the population data isn't uniform, and can be onerous to feed to the program. That is why the Splitline maps are from the last census, because they couldn't convert the data from the 2010 census to usable form easily.
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