Thursday, May 19, 2011

Redistricting Maps! Round Two - The GOP Gerrymanders

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIt's time for round two of Redistricting Maps! In this edition we'll look at some possible GOP gerrymanders, including the much talked about idea of combining Minneapolis and St. Paul into one district, in the previous edition we looked at some possible DFL gerymanders.

Before we get started, here's the Obama share of the vote in the eight congressional districts as they are currently drawn:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usCD1: 51%
CD2: 48%
CD3: 52%
CD4: 64%
CD5: 74%
CD6: 45%
CD7: 47%
CD8: 53%

As you can see, the current map is pretty favorable to the GOP. There are already two districts packed with Democrats and the remaining districts are all within reach with the right candidate in the right cycle, as Chip Cravaack proved in November.

Is there a way to make an even more favorable GOP map though?

These maps were all drawn with the easy to use, and free(!) Dave's Redistricting App.

First up, the famed "Twin cities district" map, where both Minneapolis and St. Paul are drawn into the same district to achieve maximum DFL packing.

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The problem with this approach, is that you can only pack so many Dems into one district. As shown above, the district went for Obama with 78% of the vote, only 4% more than the currently constructed CD5. In addition there are still too many Democrats left over to spread out into the other seven districts, meaning there has to be at least two Democratic vote sink districts in the metro area.

Is the idea of combining the Twin Cities into one district nothing more then a red herring then? Because everyone knows that this is what the GOP really wants, when they propose a map that doesn't combine the Twin Cities they get credit for drawing a "fair" map.

I don't know if that's what's going on, but regardless, the idea of combining Minneapolis and St. Paul into one district to create a kind of super packed DFL district just doesn't work out in reality. In fact, without getting crazy with the new lines, there really is no good way for the GOP to even draw a 5/3 map without cutting the margins razor thin.

This leads us back to the current configuration of the Twin Cities and helps to demonstrate just how ideal the congressional map, as it's now drawn, is for the GOP. By keeping Minneapolis and St. Paul in their own districts, they have a chance in the three suburban districts and currently occupy them all. If Minneapolis and St. Paul are combined into one district, there are still too many suburban DFLers left for them to hang onto all (what would be) four suburban seats.

This is evidenced by the map that came out of the GOP dominated House of Representatives. They were perfectly content to leave the Twins Cities as is, just making minor changes to the boarders to account for population shifts.

The simple reality is that unless you go to the crazy extent of drawing a super thin line all they way up the boarder to Duluth in an effort to combine it with St. Paul, the two Twin Cities based districts can't get much more packed with Democrats than they currently are. So the GOP gerrymander maps will naturally look quite a bit like what we see now, or an even better example would be the GOP house map, authored by Sarah Anderson.

Anyway, here was one I drew, nothing crazy, just some favorable nudging around the edges.

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CD1: 50%
CD2: 47%
CD3: 49%
CD4: 64%
CD5: 74%
CD6: 46%
CD7: 47%
CD8: 53%

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