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Election Data Services Releases New Re-Apportionment Study

by: DavidNYC

Sun Dec 30, 2007 at 2:20 AM EST

A company called Election Data Services has published a new study (PDF) of Congressional re-apportionment, based on newly-released Census data. EDS used three different models to project likely re-apportionment figures, which they explain as follows:

First, there is a "long-term" trend model that reflects the overall change that has occurred so far this decade; that is from 2000 to 2007, and projects it to 2010. Second, a "midterm" trend model uses the population change that has occurred from 2005 to 2007. Finally, a "short-term" trend model incorporates the change that has occurred in just the past year, from 2006 to 2007, and carries that rate of change forward to 2010.

The results:

State Long-Term Mid-Term Short-Term
Arizona 2 2 2
California 0 -1 0
Florida 2 2 1
Georgia 1 1 1
Illinois -1 -1 -1
Iowa -1 -1 -1
Louisiana -1 -1 -1
Massachusetts -1 -1 -1
Michigan -1 -1 -1
Minnesota 0 -1 -1
Missouri -1 -1 -1
Nevada 1 1 1
New Jersey -1 -1 -1
New York -2 -2 -2
North Carolina 0 1 1
Ohio -2 -2 -2
Oregon 1 1 1
Pennsylvania -1 -1 -1
South Carolina 0 1 1
Texas 4 4 4
Utah 1 1 1

When it comes to matters of re-apportionment and re-districting, I know that Swing State readers don't need any commentary from me about what this all might mean. So have at it!

DavidNYC :: Election Data Services Releases New Re-Apportionment Study
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We have to take back the Texas House
Having a seat at the redistricting table there could get us 2 - 4 seats alone.


Since I don't have the access to recommend your comment, I would like to ask that others read it over and over and over again.

Taking back the Texas House is a huge priority.


[ Parent ]
We haven't had a need
For recommends and troll ratings at SSP, so that aspect of the system has never been turned on. In other words, you aren't lacking access - we all are. :)

So if you think a comment is particularly worthy, then by all means, do what you just did - make a note of it in your own comment.

[ Parent ]
Texas reapportionment

We've made some of the necessary progress toward flipping the composition of the Texas  state legislature, but there's more to do and, as journalist Evan Koblenz once wrote,

History arrives in a hurry.

 I hope we can succeed in focusing netroots attention on some candidates to help us do that, during the current cycle. Experience has shown that it's a bit difficult to get actual netroots donors to lower their sights from Federal contenders and do anything more than vaguely cheer from the sidelines for Democrats running for state legislative seats. I've raised about $11,000 for Democratic candidates in the last two cycles, but only a little over $1,000 of that was for state legislators. People do express interest, but their imagination is more easily caught by candidates for the federal Congress. 

We'll have to try hard on this. We are uniquely placed to exploit the opportunity of a redistricting in Texas, if our party has a stronger hand in drawing the lines for it. We have several former Congressmen in Texas who lost their seats, not because they retired or lost interest in politics, but because their districts were redrawn to be indefensible. They'll be unbeatable candidates for fairly drawn districts.   

In the mean time I wonder if some of the excellent Democrats who have challenged Republican congresional incumbents could be persuaded to parlay the resulting name recognition into state legislative campaigns in the local districts where they did well? Is that a reasonable thought, in some cases?  




Half the population believes our electoral system is broken. The other half believes it is fixed.  

[ Parent ]
I heard that
Ed Rendell might let Republicans take back the state House in Pennsylvania in 2008.  This would be a huge mistake since this is a critical redistricting state in 2012.  If we can keep the House in the state, we are likely to get an incumbent protection plan which is good for us since we have more incumbents than Republicans in the state.  If Republicans take the House, they will try and draw the lines so we go from 11 seats down to only 5 or 6. 

How and why would he do that?

Delaware Liberal - biggest and best blog in Delaware.

[ Parent ]
I guess because

Rendell is not getting along with Democratic leaders in the state House. 

[ Parent ]
So a former chair of the DNC
And current campaign chair of the DGA would truly screw his own party out of pique? And when you say "let the Republicans," what exactly does that mean? Obviously there are individual elections which will decide control over the PA House. Perhaps he can try to influence them, but I don't think it's up to him.

[ Parent ]
I am saying

that there is no reason that Democrats should lose the state House in a basically Democratic state.  You would have to try pretty hard to lose it. 

[ Parent ]
So then...

Rendell, who might be hoping to one day want to be something other than Governor, has decided that he is perfectly willing to screw over Democrats, not only the state party, but the National party by doing something that stupid. It doesn't pass the smell-o-meter.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]
That's what I heard
and it is very concerning, since it is crucial for us to have a say in the Pennsylvania redistricting.  If we at least partially control redistricting, we can make Altmire safe in PA-04 and probably combine some of the slow growing districts in central PA. 

[ Parent ]
PA House

The R's have a decent chance of taking the PA House in '08, and it has nothing to do with Rendell allegedly letting it happen.  It's presently a one-seat majority, and the macro story for the PA House elections could be Democratic corruption, thanks to a continuing investigation into bonus payments to House employees (at taxpayer expense) for campaign work on behalf of Democratic candidates.

 Regardless, I can't see the R's topping the border mischief pulled in the last redistricting.  And that one blew up in their faces.

[ Parent ]
I wish there was some data on New Mexico
We've been growing pretty fast, and when I took a class on Congress last spring my professor speculated that we might get an extra two seats after the census. Any info on that?

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

Your prof gets an F
There is data on N.M. in the linked PDF, and New Mexico is nowhere near getting another seat.  Sorry, I do like N.M. -- and this year I'm triple loving it -- but it ain't gonna happen. By one of the tables, the 06-07 trend, New Mexico is 525 in line to get the next seat, with 435 being the cutoff.

[ Parent ]
That's rather disappointing, I thought we were growing a LOT faster than that, it's a bit of a surprise to me.

Politics and Other Random Topics

24, Male, Democrat, NM-01, Chairman of the Atheist Caucus, and Majority Leader of the "Going to Hell" caucus!

[ Parent ]

Many people highly overestimate the impact of population growth or migration on the number of seats a state gets. Essentially it's all about long-term trends, and states that start small (like New Mexico) have to grow at breakneck speed to gain seats, as Nevada shows. New Mexico's population isn't growing that quickly.

[ Parent ]
There are a lot of states missing here.
I know for a fact that the growth rate in NH is at least twice that of most other states, but it's not even on here. Ever wonder where that -1 seat for MA is going? Also omitted, and I think surprisingly, is Washington state, which is growing at least as fast as Oregon thanks to the combination of the Sea-Tac/Olympia area on one side and Spokane on the other. Idaho is also growing extremely quickly, but possibly not enough for an extra seat by 2010, as its population wasn't that large to begin with. I'd also think that with the majority of migration in this country being towards the Sun Belt that Tennessee and New Mexico would be listed. CT will probably also lose another seat at some point, but they just lost one c. 2000, so it probably won't happen until c. 2020.

Data missing from where?
In the linked PDF, on the last attached table, D, based on 06-07 trends, Washington is shown as 437 in line for the next seat, with 435 being the cutoff of course. It's close to Oregon, as you say, which comes in at 433 to make the cut. But N.M. and TN, not close.

Data that is missing here is the national average size of a congressional district. We only get the average for each state and its ranking. This shows the Montana at-large district projected to be the nation's most populous at 991,447, followed by Delaware at large. New Hampshire then ranks 3rd, with three districts of a projected 697,663 each, but 573 in line for another seat. (I assume that some states are in line to get another seat twice or three times ahead of N.H. to push it so far down the order.)

The Wyoming at-large district comes in 50th place with only 553,643 -- and 770 in line for another seat. I guess Wyoming won't have much enthusiasm for any plan to add 10 or 20 more seats to the current 435.

[ Parent ]
Someone clicking through to the PDF! There is hope for this universe! :)

[ Parent ]
A question of scale

New Hampshire would need to have about 1 million Massachusetts residents move there in order to get that 10th seat, instead of the five-digit number that would be a very generous estimate of the decade's worth of transfers.

There is no chance of New Hampshire ever getting a third seat in Congress, and barring massive climate change it's like that N.H. will struggle to hold on to its second seat in the distant future (2030, 2040). 

[ Parent ]

Can anyone describe the actual formula(e) used for apportionment, in enough detail to allow the analysis in this PDF to be reproduced accurately?

I'd like to have a live spreadsheet in front of me to play with the numbers, 'what ifs' based on different growth rates, etc.


The States are listed by population (or projected population), and is characterized by a given "need."

Each state is assigned one seat first, and the "need" is calculated by:

 where x denotes the number of seats a state already has,

need = pop*[x(x+1)]^(-1/2), or population divided by the square root of x(x+1).

 The state with the highest "need" is given the 51st seat, which increases x for that state and decreases the "need". Then the state with the next highest "need" is given the 52nd seat, etc.

 This recurses until all 435 seats have been allotted.

In 2000, the seats went:

 California, Texas, California, New York, Florida, California...

[ Parent ]
Counting Questions
Who is counted as part of "population" for Congressional Redistricting purposes?  Obviously, all resident citizens, but what about (1) resident aliens?  (2) undocumented aliens?  (3) citizens abroad?

[ Parent ]

I'm not sure about answers to questions 2 and 3, but:

 Resident aliens are definitely counted; for this reason there are fewer registered voters (and much lower voter turnout) in districts with higher percentages of resident aliens. For example, in 2004 for President:

In California-47, represented by Loretta Sanchez population 639,087, roughly 111,000 votes were cast for either Kerry or Bush.

In North Dakota-AL, 111,000 votes were cast for Kerry alone (roughly 303,000 overall).

I think the general rule is that if they are counted in the population for a given state, regardless of status, then they are counted for purposes of Congressional reapportionment.

 This leads me to believe that citizens living abroad are not counted (not unlike college students who are counted at their institutions and not places of permanent residence, if they are at school on April 1 of a given census year).

I would also guess that undocumented aliens are not counted, but that's only a guess. 

[ Parent ]
The math behind re-apportionment

Green Papers has an exelent explanation of the math.

"Where free Unions and collective bargaining is forbidden, freedom is lost." - Ronald Reagan

[ Parent ]
Having fun with the 2007 Population Estimates
I performed a series of hand calculations using the 2006-2007 data projecting forward to 2010 and achieved the same results as the Election Data Services "short term" trend model, with one exception.  The projected 2010 Population of 309.8 million (Wash DC is subtracted) divided by 435 gives 0.712 million per Congressional Seat.  The range for each seat is + or - 0.356 million.  Therefore, the range for 2 congressional seats is from 1.068 to 1.78 million.   The 2007 estimate for Rhode Island population is 1.058 million.  Rhode Island was one of two states to lose population between 2006-2007.  If Rhode Island continues to lose population (to 1.046 million) it will not be able to reach the 1.068 million threshold for two Congressional seats.

California - it will be a miracle if the Golden State if able to achieve zero change in Congressional seats by 2010.  Factors working against California are (1) the home mortgage crash, slow down in home sales and new home construction (2) a shaky economy teetering on a recession (3) the Census undercount error is more significant due to California's larger population.  Consolation prize for team blue is if California loses a Congressional seat in 2010 - it will be a Republican seat.

Florida - Surprise!  Down tick in population growth estimate to only 193,735 between 2006-2007 projects in "short term" trend to an increase of only one Congressional seat, instead of two.  I wonder if getting tough with the immigrants/migrant workers had something to do with this?   The home mortgage crash and associated home construction slow down is also impacting Florida.

Rhode Island - it would be a disaster for team blue for Rhode Island to lose a seat, on top of the loss of a seat in neighboring Massachusetts.  I hope I am missing something in my calculation above.  Is Providence a sanctuary city?  Better yet, Rhode Island should be sanctuary state!

South Carolina - a vigorous crack down on the immigrants/migrant workers could leave South Carolina short in the 2010 Census population to add a Congressional seat.   Could we see a shadowy group running adds berating the South Carolinians for doing a poor job on immigrants/migrant workers?  

Texas - will Texas maintain its vigorous population growth of 0.5 million per year for the next three years?  A down tick to a growth rate of 0.4 to 0.45 million per year would likely leave Texas with an increase of only three Congressional seats.

Washington - a relatively small up tick in population growth (10 thousand per year for three years) on top of the current projected growth would move Washington into a good position to gain a Congressional seat.   According to the LA Times, Washington (and Oregon) does not require drivers to prove legal status in order to obtain a license.   The 2008 population estimate will be very interesting for Washington.

Polidata's study
Showed Washington gaining a seat.

[ Parent ]
Wishing and hoping...
I had been clinging to hope against hope that we would only lose one seat instead of two in Ohio. And of course, this changes the stupid electoral college.

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