Everyone who gerrymanders knows about the infamous GOP cracking of Austin during the GOP gerrymander of Texas. If the Democrats magically got control of the state House, state Senate and Governorship they would be out for blood over the GOP mid-decade gerrymander
Time for the GOP's turn to cry over a gerrymander of Austin!
White 55% Black 6% Hispanic 35%
Since Doggett's District has grown by over 120,000 people in the past 10 years it has been easy to make it more compact by removing several of the conservative counties, some of Austin was also removed to make room for the other districts. Austin comprises the majority of the population, but San Marcos and Seguin are also in the district. The PVI remains the same as Doggett's old district. If he can win with an 8 point margin in one of the worst years for Democrats in decades this new district should be no problem.
White 65% Black 8% Hispanic 20%
Clearly most of Austin is in this new district. It is 2 points more Democratic than Doggett's district and includes Round Rock and Georgetown in addition to the majority of Austin. Again the massive population growth in Austin made this district possible. Not much else to say on this one.
White 52% Black 21% Hispanic 21%
As if two safe Democratic districts weren't bad enough a third district including parts of Austin, Waco, Killeen/Temple and College Station/Bryan. This is the crown jewel of this gerrymander. This district is beautifully drawn for one reason, to get the GOP angry. I couldn't quite make this district Democratic enough to be a safe Democratic Seat, but it is definitely winnable, toss-up at worst and lean D at best.
A little while back, ThinkProgress's Matt Yglesias made a very good point about how it's kinda weird that the media and many others are arguing that there is some sort of broad "anti-incumbency" mood going on in the country.
There's something inherently odd about the concept of an anti-incumbent wave in a country wherein the overwhelming majority of incumbents are invariably elected. In the 2008, for example, 23 House incumbents were defeated in an unusually eventful election. A year in which "only" 75 percent of incumbents running for re-election were successful result in a shockingly large amount of change in the House. Indeed, I think everyone regards such a scenario as wildly unrealistic. And yet it would be hard to describe a universe in which 75 percent of incumbents are re-elected as all that gripped by anti-incumbent sentiment.
The interesting thing is that both 2006 and 2008 are largely seen as being both anti-Republican and anti-Incumbent (2008 moreso than 2006), but by absolute numbers, the number of incumbents who lost and the number of seats where the incumbent party switched are actually pretty low. A lot of people might be asking the obvious question; how can you say that 2006 and 2008 weren't extremely anti-incumbent? After all, those two years saw the House, the Senate, and the Presidency switch from the Democrats to the Republicans. Before delving further, I'm not saying that the most recent elections weren't extremely significant and that there wasn't a massive change in control of government, but I am saying that this did not happen because incumbents had been thrown out left and right (especially in the House of Representatives). I'm going to work on a series which involves looking at the last two elections (both of which were Democratic wave elections) to try and give some perspective to the "anti-incumbent" myth which pervades the House of Representatives.
A number of commentators have lamented increasing polarization in Washington. Conventional wisdom has it that America is as divided and partisan as it ever has been. Sectional divisions are tearing this country apart and preventing problems such as the deficit from being addressed; the differences between blue America and red America, in this view, are rapidly approaching crisis point.
There is some justice to this view. Polarization has probably increased, by a number of metrics, over the past few elections. Indeed, I previously noted something to this exact effect.
Let's take another look, however, at the hypothesis, using a different type of measurement. Do blue states elect Republican representatives, and vice versa? In a polarized nation, this would probably not be the case.
Here is the House today:
Here is 1894:
As this stark contrast illustrates, perhaps polarization ain't so bad as it used to be.
DC political prognosticator Charlie Cook is getting a lot of attention for his doom and gloom about Democrats' chances this November. He has controversially asserted that health care reform is Barack Obama's Iraq War and that the Democrats will likely lose the House.
It's worth pointing out that other major political pundits don't (yet) agree with Cook's forecast; Larry Sabato and Stuart Rothenberg, for example, still see Republican gains in the House in the mid-to-upper 20s. Cook's analysis can't be totally dismissed, however. Congressional approval ratings, though always low, are scraping the bottom of the barrel. Democratic enthusiasm is hugely down, economic forecasts indicate slow job growth through the end of the year, and Obama's approval rating is the second-lowest of any president at this point.
Moreover, young and minority voters are unlikely to turn out in large numbers; many, even if supportive of Obama and liberal-ish in their views, aren't especially political and may treat the midterms with apathy. As Obama's approval ratings are low with older voters and white voters, a turnout favoring them could well deliver the GOP big gains.
Nonetheless, Cook's analysis seems flawed to me. It's not that Democrats couldn't lose the House. And it's not just the standard "a week is a lifetime in politics," caveat. Rather, Cook seems to me to miss many mitigating factors, and I'm curious if others agree.
So Utah gains a seat, having no clue about Utah Politics I decided to make a district as ridiculously large as possible while keeping the deviation of population as low as possible. I knew that most of the population in Utah was around Salt Lake City and the Provo area, but I had no idea it was that concentrated.
CD-01: Blue deviates from the average district population with +7
CD-02: Green deviates the least from the district average with -6 people
CD-03: Purple deviates the most from the district average which is -26 people
CD-04: I admit that the Red district is packed with people to make it larger. +25 people from the district average :p
I think CD-04 may be geographically one of the largest not-at-large districts
After seeing all the great maps here I've decide to give it a try. This is my first attempt at redistricting a state and my first diary. While doing this for the first time I kind of wished I had lived in a smaller state, but Texas is where I grew up and where I live. Since this is my first attempt at redistricting a state I want constructive criticism, but please be gentle :) especially the long-time observers of Texas Politics because I am sure some of my commentary may be a bit off on some of the areas I am less familiar with. I used Daves Redistricting App for this. Please note I am not exactly familiar with the VRA law and how to apply it because I am new at this so if someone would like to critique this map for that it would be appreciated.
With Bill White running for Governor and the Democrats a few seats from the majority in the House, what would a Democratic Redistricting of Texas look like?
My goals for doing a Democratic redistricting of Texas were to
1. Create at least two new Democratic seats in DFW
2. Clean up Travis County
3. Clean up Harris County, add another Dem seat.
4. Work to weaken several GOP incumbents including Sessions and Culberson.
All districts have a +/- 2.5% population deviation from the average. I will describe each group of district based on metro area or geographic location.
CD-1 Largely consists of the currently existing CD-4. Like most of rural Texas it is very white, very conservative. 71% White, 15% African American, 10% Hispanic Safe R
CD-5 now includes Ellis County and the City of Tyler and is out of Dallas County entirely. This new district has the potential for a very entertaining primary between Joe Barton, Louie Gohmert and Jeb Hensarling. 70% White, 10% African American, 16% Hispanic Safe R
CD-6 which had a significant chunk of its population in the DFW metro area is now entirely rural. 69% White, 15% African American, 12% Hispanic. Safe R
CD-17 although this district is in Central Texas it shows up good in the East Texas pic. I am one of the people who remains amazed at Chet Edwards-D ability to hold on to his heavily GOP district. Unsure of how to protect him I only have a few choices since his district gained population so Bosque, Somervell, Madison and Grimes Counties have been removed from his district. Waco and Byran/College Station are still within CD-17 This district is probably still a Toss-up as Edwards will have to work hard to maintain this seat. 67% White, 9% African American, 19% Hispanic
Greater Houston Area (the Rural/Suburban districts)
CD-33 is a rural district which extends from greater Houston to Bastrop Country which is southeast of Austin which is a solid GOP seat. 61% White, 11% African American, 25% Hispanic. Safe R
CD-22 is now almost entirely contained within Fort Bent County with small pieces in Waller and West Harris County. Obama barely lost Fort Bend County, and despite being a minority-majority district I think this seat stays GOP. 44% White, 17% African American, 24% Hispanic, 12% Asian Likely R
CD-14 Ron Paul isn't going anywhere. 56% White, 8% African American, 30% Hispanic. Safe R
CD-08 contains north suburban Houston, the district is largely split between the fast growing Montgomery County and North West Harris County. 71% White, 5% African American, 16% Hispanic, 5% Asian. Safe R
CD-02 Rural/suburban Houston contains Beaumont and Port Arthur. 62% White,, 18% African American, 15% Hispanic. Safe R
Greater Houston (the Urban/Suburban districts)
CD-09 Now rests entirely within Harris County, other than a small extension to the west of CD-07 this district remains largely unchanged. 17% White, 32% African American, 36% Hispanic, 11% Asian. Safe-D
CD-07 is now more Urban, it has essentially been shifted a big to the east which moves it a bit into south Houston. The conservative west part of his district has been annexed by conservative CD-08. 46% White, 12% African American, 33% Hispanic, 5% Asian. Leans D
CD-18 and CD-29 were both redrawn to undo the ugliness of the previous districts. CD-18 15% White, 30% African American, 49% Hispanic. CD-29 17% White, 14% African American, 65% Hispanic. Both remain safe D.
CD-35 Contains a good chunk of the currently existing CD-22 and is on the cusp of being a minority-majority district. 53% White, 10% African American, 29% Hispanic, 4% Asian Lean R
Travis County (Austin)
CD-10 Contains most of Austin. 54% White, 6% African American, 32% Hispanic, 5% Asian, Safe D
CD-25 At first I thought I drew a GOP leaning seat here but it may be a Dem leaning seat. This district contains the remainder of Austin as well as Round Rock, Georgetown and Cedar Park. If Dems organize well enough this could very well be a Dem held seat. 56% White, 9% African American, 27% Hispanic, 5% Asian. Toss-up
Bexar County (San Antonio)
CD-21 This district is heavily Hispanic, much of this district is part of the former CD-23 and CD-20. Ciro Rodriguez may opt to run here instead of CD-23 for reasons which will be clear when CD-23 is described. 29% White, 4% Black, 61% Hispanic Safe D
CD-20 Central and South San Antonio, like CD-21 this district is heavily Hispanic. 30% White, 6% Black, 60% Hispanic Safe D
South and Southwest Texas
CD-27 Remains largely unchanged, just tightened up because of the population increase in South Texas. 20% White, 2% African American, 75% Hispanic Safe D
CD-15 Much of the Rio Grande Valley. Safe D
CD-28 This guy extends from South San Antonio all the way down to Hidalgo county. 34% White, 6%, African American, 56% Hispanic Safe D
CD-23 Laredo is back in this heavily Hispanic district. 82% Hispanic and 15% White makes this the most Hispanic district in the state.
CD-16 In El Paso remains largely unchaged and is a bit more compacted. Safe D
West and Central Texas
CD-13 A true West Texas district! Contains the cities of Amarillo and Lubbock. An interesting note about this district is that it is only 57% White, the remainder is 33% Hispanic and 5% African American. I don't know much about West Texas but I was expecting a much higher percentage of white folk. However given the demise of the rural Democrats in Texas this district remains in the GOP hands. Safe R
CD-19 Midland-Odessa and Abilene are the cities in this geographically huge district. 58% White, 5% African American, 33% Hispanic. Safe R
CD-11 This one encompasses a lot of Lamar Smiths former CD-21. San Angelo and part of New Braunfels make up this heavily GOP district. Loving County which is also the least populous County in the Country is also here. 68% White, 2 % African American, 26% Hispanic. Stonewall, the birth place of President Lyndon Johnson is in this district. Safe R
CD-31 Another rural conservative district located in Central Texas. 64% White, 12% African American, 18% Hispanic. Safe R
CD-04 Although this district is part of the DFW Metroplex it shows up nice on this image. This district includes the northern parts of Denton and Collin County which are two of the fastest growing counties in the state. At 78% White, 4% African American and 12% Hispanic this rural district is a GOP stronghold. Contains Wichita Falls, Sherman and Denison, the later is the birthplace of President Dwight Eisenhower. Safe R
CD-36 This district which contains several Far North Dallas suburbs including McKinney, Allen, Frisco, Flower Mound and Denton is solid GOP all the way. 68% White, 7% African American, 17% Hispanic. Safe R
CD-12 The C shape of this district obviously stands rightly for "conservative". The most conservative parts of Americas second largest conservative urban county are here. Conservative parts of south and west Arlington, West and North Tarrant County lock up this district as a solid GOP seat. Safe R
CD-26 Situated in Central Fort Worth extending out into south Fort Worth and west into Arlington. The Democratic Party would lock this one up. 37% White, 21% African American, 37% Hispanic. Safe Dem
CD-24 This guy straddles the Dallas-Tarrant County line and is in an area of Dallas and Tarrant County where local Democrats have been having a lot of success in state House races the past few cycles. 42% White, 14% Black, 34% Hispanic. Lean D
CD-30 This was the sole Democratic Representative in DFW after the redistricting of 2003. CD-30 does remain the most African American in the state, however the district now grabs the conservative enclave of Highland Park in near the center of Dallas county. 25% White, 38% African American, 32% Hispanic. Safe D
CD-03 Another district where local Democrats have been having great success at winning State House Seats. 42% White, 16% African American, 33% Hispanic and 6% Asian. I really want classify this seat as Lean D but I don't think it is quite there yet. Toss-up
CD-34 Now the "What..." moment will be answered regarding this creatively drawn district. This district is drawn to strengthen the Democratic presence in CD-32 and CD-03 by moving a lot of the strong GOP north Dallas areas into a safe GOP seat with Plano. CD-34 cuts straight down into Dallas County and ropes up University Park, a conservative enclave just north of Highland Park. Plano is one of the most conservative cities in the country and is almost entirely within this district. 64% White, 7% African American, 12% Hispanic, 12% Asian Safe R
CD-32 This majority Hispanic district is now ready for to be picked up by a Dem. Heavily Democratic portions of south Dallas are included and heavily GOP sections of north Dallas are included in CD-34. 28% White, 11% African American, 54% Hispanic. Likely D
"Dede Scozzafava, the GOP nominee in a key upcoming House special election, is running dangerously low on campaign cash, according to several GOP sources familiar with her spending and fundraising."
Interestingly the article goes on to say that the RNC has sent only two staffers and hasn't contributed a cent to the race. Owens is outspending her 12-1. Even Hoffman has spent more. The NRCC is trying to make up the difference but even they have been overtaken by the DCCC.
"Despite a recent poll showing the GOP nominee with a 7-point lead over Owens, the spending disparity has many Republicans downbeat about her prospects."
I have to say I'm surprised at this. You would think the RNC would be flooding cash into the district to try and get a clean sweep of all the big races on November 3. Politico suggests they are concentrating on the gubernatorial races but that seems dubious at best. Maybe they just don't want her to win. I know I don't.
Using Dave's Application, I have drawn a redistricting plan for Louisiana. It appears that the state will be losing one seat in 2012, so the plan here has six seats. There is currently only one Democrat in the entire delegation, and this plan aims to make that two or three Democrats, including two African-Americans. I tried to make the map so districts are relatively compact, no parish is split among more than two districts, and altogether only 13 out of Louisiana's 64 parishes are split at all.
Five weeks from election day and Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava (R) leads Bill Owens (D) by seven points with Doug Hoffman (C) trailing in the first independent poll of the special election to replace Army Secretary John McHugh in the House of Representatives for New York's 23rd District.
The topline numbers from the Siena College Research Institute (LV, 9/27-29, MoE 3.9%) are:
"This is a wide open race. One in five voters is currently undecided. Add to that the fact that one-third of Scozzafava's current supporters and one-quarter of Owens's current supporters say they are not very certain of their choice and that they very well may change their minds between now and Election Day."
I think it fair to say this is a total tossup, particulary with the better known Scozzafava having such a small lead. I will update with more thoughts when I've poured over some of the internals.
Looking at the 2008 presidential race in the district we find Obama won Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Madison, Oswego and St. Lawrence counties. McCain carried Fulton, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and Oneida.
The three-way makes it difficult to extrapolate but Scozzafava leads big in the West (which is where her Assembly district is located) matching McCain in Jefferson and Lewis counties but also in St. Lawrence where Obama won big.
On the contrary Owens leads in some of the central counties she represents and which McCain won, namely Madison, Oneiga and Oswego.
The good news is they are tied in places Obama won big - Clinton, Essex and Franklin. As andgarden mentions in the comments Obama is popular in the district so if people there get to know Owens and like what they hear I think there is a good chance he can take this one.
On the flipside McCain did well in Fulton and Hamilton so Owens is overperforming there though I suspect that has more to do with Hoffman taking conservative votes.
Favorables are interesting. Scozzafava clocks in at 33-20-47, favorable, unfavorable, no opinion. Hopefully Hoffman's kamikaze act helps make people form a negative opinion.
Owens is at 23-12-64 so significantly more room to grow. Hoffman at 16-13-71.
Top issues, economy and health care, unsuprisingly, and the candidates are split.
McHugh's endorsement would be key according to the numbers but if Obama comes out for Owens is it at all likely he will oppose his new boss? Interesting.