AP analysis shows more unopposed Missouri races, GOP edge

Rosalie Stanley
June 26, 2017

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

A new analysis of election results by The Associated Press indicates Republicans could have benefited slightly during the 2016 election from the way Kentucky state House districts were drawn.

Barbuto was in the Legislature the last time lawmakers redrew political boundaries in response to the 2010 census.

The analysis found that Virginia was among those states with Republican-skewed state House districts as well as congressional districts.

The analysis found Republicans benefited from an efficiency gap of almost 3 percent, allowing them to win three more seats than they would have expected to win given their share of statewide votes. Only 12 Republicans aren't facing a Democratic challenger in November's election this year, compared to 44 Republicans who ran unopposed or faced only a third party challenger in 2015.

But "part of it is the gerrymandering issue, in that districts are simply drawn in such a way that it is very difficult" for Democrats to win in many parts of the state, Beatty added.

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Nationally, the analysis found that Republicans may have won as many as 22 additional congressional seats over what would have been expected based on the average vote share in congressional districts across the country. The Republican edge in Michigan's state House districts had only a 1-in-16,000 probability of occurring by chance; in Wisconsin's Assembly districts, there was a mere 1-in-60,000 likelihood of it happening randomly, the analysis found.

The AP analysis was based on a formula developed by University of Chicago law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

The formula was cited as "corroborative evidence" in a redistricting case in Wisconsin, where a federal appeals court panel last fall struck down state legislative districts as an intentional partisan gerrymander in violation of Democratic voters' constitutional rights. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal.

According to the "efficiency gap" formula, gerrymandering gave Republicans one excess seat in South Carolina's 170-member Legislature and one extra seat among the state's seven congressmen. Created to detect cases in which one party may have secured power through political gerrymandering, it found that the GOP may have won as many as 22 additional congressional seats more than expected. 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.

MI provides a good example of how the formula works. The Republican tilt last fall was close to the median amount among all states analyzed. Yet Republicans won 57 percent of the House seats, claiming 63 seats to the Democrats' 47.

Still, experts say, Republicans generally benefit far more from gerrymandering than Democrats, since they hold control of the majority of state legislatures and governors' mansions. The Michigan House redistricting effort was led by then-state Rep. Pete Lund, who denied gerrymandering districts to favor Republicans.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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