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Estimating the Partisan Consequences of Redistricting Plans - Simply

Kousser, J. Morgan (1995) Estimating the Partisan Consequences of Redistricting Plans - Simply. Social Science Working Paper, 929. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Although some judges and political scientists have recently doubted that it is possible to predict the partisan consequences of redistricting plans, I demonstrate that it is simple to do so with a pair of OLS equations that regress voting percentages on major party registration percentages. I test this model on data for all California Assembly and Congressional elections from 1970 through 1992, and compare it to logit results and to more complicated equations that contain incumbency and socioeconomic variables. Since information on socioeconomic variables is often not available early in a redistricting cycle, and since incumbency in a district is often difficult to determine precisely after a reapportionment, I rely on the simplest equation, which correctly predicts 90% of the results. I show that analogous equations using registration or votes for minor or even major offices in California, North Carolina, and Texas can predict outcomes with considerable accuracy. Using the party registration equations, I show that the so-called "Burton Gerrymander" of 1980 had minimal partisan consequences, while the "nonpartisan" plan instituted by the California Supreme Court's Special Masters in 1992 was nearly as biased in favor of the Republicans as the proposal of the Republican party, which would have insured the GOP a majority of the Congressional seats even if Democrats won a landslide of the votes. I conclude by introducing a new graphical representation of redistricting plans, which strongly implies that in 1991, Republican and Democratic line drawers in California agreed on the registration margins necessary for party control and drew their plans with these in mind.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Published as Kousser, J. Morgan. "Estimating the partisan consequences of redistricting plans-simply." Legislative Studies Quarterly (1996): 521-541.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Political parties, Political partisanship, Redistricting, Incumbents, Voting, Voter registration, Congressional districts, Political candidates, Gerrymandering
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:929
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170818-132226552
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80620
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:18 Aug 2017 21:51
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:33

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