AP analysis shows more unopposed Missouri races, GOP edge

Bryan Strickland
June 26, 2017

Colorado was one of just eight US states with a Democratic advantage in its lower house districts in the 2016 election, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Stephanopoulos and McGhee computed efficiency gaps for four decades of congressional and state House races starting in 1972, concluding the pro-Republican maps enacted after the 2010 Census resulted in "the most extreme gerrymanders in modern history".

After the November election, 59 Republicans control the Idaho House, which has 11 Democrats.

"Democrats are absolutely benefiting from the current maps, and there's no question they won't continue if the process doesn't change", Call said.

"It's called Donald Trump", he said.

"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.

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Part of the problem with Democrats is institutional, said Schale. They moved Democratic-performing areas into districts that were safe for Republican or Democratic candidates. In past years, a lack of competition let Republicans pool resources and spend heavily on a handful of competitive districts. The resulting new apportionment system emerged from an historic compromise between Republican and Democratic lawmakers that gives the minority party a powerful say on any new 10-year map designating Ohio's 99 House and 33 Senate districts. Virginia is a swing state where Democrats have won, often by slim margins, every statewide office since 2009.

Last fall, voters statewide split their ballots essentially 50-50 between Republican and Democratic state House candidates. That results in a 47 percent efficiency gap heavily favoring Democrats, but both races were close, and if fewer than 5,000 votes had switched in either district, the efficiency gap would be almost even. Then Republicans flipped enough seats to take control by the time Republican Gov. Jeb Bush was elected in 1998.

He'd like to see nonpartisan legislative staff draft initial maps and a supermajority consensus required by redistricting and reapportionment panels.

The state's congressional map was deemed unconstitutional and redrawn by order of federal judges in 2016, but legal challenges to redraw state House districts are tied up in appeals. A similar analysis in 2014 showed Democrats had a slight advantage in the same districts.

According to the AP data, even though House Republicans averaged 57.6 percent of the vote in the 100 districts across in in 2016, they won or retained 70 seats in the House of Representatives.

The formula compares the statewide average share of the vote that a party receives with the statewide percentage of seats the party won, taking into account that in politics, each percentage point share of statewide votes generally accounts for a 2 percentage point increase in seat share.

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