Monday, March 21, 2011

Updated hPVI by Senate district

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usLast week I began rolling out new hPVI's with the county edition, this week the Senate districts are up.

Way back in November of 2010 Nate Silver wrote an article about the recently concluded elections entitled "2010: An Aligning Election," where he laid out the case that the 2010 midterms were a correction of Democratic gains in Republican territory in 2006 and 2008.

The same case can be made about the 2010 Minnesota legislative elections.

Below is a graph of the Senate district hPVI's, those colored red are held by GOPers and those colored blue are held by DFLers.

And here is the old hPVI graph:

What you see is that Democrats gave up most of their seats in GOP territory while holding almost all of those in their own territory. The problem is that there's more GOP territory because of how partisans are distributed in the state, so even though Democrats actually control more GOP leaning seats than GOPers control Democratic leaning seats, the GOP controls the Senate.

Even ignoring the extreme and fluky case of Lisa Fobbe in SD16, Democrats had made substantial gains in some heavily GOP areas and this turned out to be unsustainable. The problem for the DFL going forward is that they need to be successful in GOP districts if they want to take back control of the Senate and counting on Obama and Amy at the top of the ballot to tug them over the line won't work.

Here's the full list, sorted by hPVI with Democrats on the left and Republicans on the right. More commentary follows.

Now I want to look at a few aspects of these numbers, first, the most partisan districts.

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This chart shows the inherent difficulty facing the DFL in taking back control of the Senate. The DFL has some really strong districts, they just don't have nearly as many normally strong districts.

The GOP doesn't have a single district with an hPVI of greater than 30, while the DFL has ten of them. On the other hand the GOP has 19 districts with hPVI's between 15 and 30, while the DFL has five. Which means there are more 15 and greater GOP districts than DFL. The GOP also has more marginal, under 15, districts.

The silver lining to all of this is that unlike what we saw with the counties, more of them shifting to the GOP than the DFL, the Senate districts shifted more towards the DFL.

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All of the GOP held districts on the left side moved from fringe DFL pickup opportunities to actual pick-up opportunities. Because of redistricting though these districts will all change to some degree or another so there's not much point in going too far down this rabbit hole.

While Redistricting will cause the lines to shift it won't do much, if anything, to help alleviate the DFL voter distribution dilemma because of the compactness fetish among the line drawer class. The best we can hope for is that GOP voters get similarly packed into some of the newly drawn suburban districts to help compensate for the packing of DFL voters.

Either way, if the DFL is to win back the Senate, than 2012 will have to be the battle for the suburbs.


Here's a pretty (as pretty as something made in excel can get), color-coded version of the Senate hPVI's.

The left most column is the Senate district label, a blue shading means the seat is controlled by the DFL, red GOP. The next column is the Senator's name, the next is the current hPVI and the next is the old hPVI. The shading for these two columns is based on the hPVI value, so the more blue a cell is the more strongly it leans DFL compared to other districts. The last column is the amount of change since the last iteration.

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