The Corner

Early Predictions for Redistricting

Richard E. Cohen looks at projections for congressional redistricting based on new census data. The key changes in House seats:

–Florida +2

–New York, Ohio -2

–Texas +4

–Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah, Washington +1

–Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Missouri -1

The final reapportionment will be based on official census data and a long-established formula, but it will be close to these projections. The process of actually redrawing the electoral maps will fall on state legislatures, where strong showings for Republicans in November combined with largely-favorable demographics could set up significant advantages for the GOP in 2012.

Among the states where the GOP could benefit most:

In Ohio, where GOP challenger John Kasich leads Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland in the contest for governor, Republicans have a good shot to take over the legislature. With GOP control of redistricting, Democrats would face a risk of major losses in the congressional delegation, which they now control 10-to-8. But several House Democrats could be defeated in November, which would affect the redistricting calculus. Population losses have been most striking in Democratic-dominated northeast Ohio.

In the six states expected to gain one seat each, all but Washington have strong Republican influence. That suggests—but does not guarantee—GOP pick-ups. In the eight states that are expected to lose a seat, Democrats appear to be at greater risk. In Massachusetts, for example, each of the 10 seats is now held by a Democrat; the state is certain to lose one Democratic congressman. But in Louisiana, Republicans could be at risk in the likely event that they end up with all of the state’s House seats after Election Day except for the New Orleans-based district.

By contrast, redistricting in heavily-Democratic New York and California are likely to benefit Democrats; and one or two of the Texas seats are likely to be apportioned to majority-Hispanic populations, pushing Texas to the left.

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