AP finds partisan advantage across OH redistricting

The AP scrutinized the outcomes of about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election a year ago, using a statistical method of calculating partisan advantage.

The AP's analysis was based on a version of the "efficiency gap" formula developed by University of Chicago law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. The analysis found Republicans benefited from an efficiency gap of almost 3 percent, allowing them to win three more seats than they would have expected to win given their share of statewide votes. Its analysis showed that although Democrats had a 51 percent to 49 percent vote edge statewide over Republicans, the GOP had a majority in 102 of the new House districts compared to just 61 for Democrats.

Even if that advantage was neutralized and Democrats were given three more seats, Republicans would still control the state House by a supermajority well above a key two-thirds threshold required for matters like passing legislation that amends Utah's Constitution, impeaching officials or expelling a member of the Legislature.

The AP used their method to calculate efficiency gaps for all states that held partisan House or Assembly elections for all of their districts in 2016.

Former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who saw his Cleveland district eliminated after the 2010 Census and his home drawn into that of a fellow Democrat, said there's "no question" districts are unfair - though he holds both parties culpable.

The U.S. Supreme Court said it will hear that case, potentially affecting voting across the U.S.

But a new analysis of election results by The Associated Press indicates it was Republicans who could have benefited slightly from the way the districts were drawn, contributing to what would become a landslide election for the GOP. In Florida, Republicans had about 11 more seats in the state House than what would be expected statistically. At the time, Democrats controlled the House while Republicans controlled the Senate. Yet Republicans won 57 percent of the House seats, claiming 63 seats to the Democrats' 47.

A previous efficiency gap analysis conducted by Simon Jackman, a former professor of political science and statistics at Stanford University, found that the Republican advantage was even higher in the 2012 and 2014 Missouri House elections.

In addition to MI, the analysis found a significant Republican tilt in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Florida, all of which had a Republican-controlled redistricting process after the 2010 Census. Colorado's map was drawn by a Democratic-dominated commission that Republicans criticized as "politically vindictive". Chris Jones testified in federal court he tried to accommodate requests from a large majority of delegates, both Republicans and Democrats, who sought to tweak lines, sometimes to draw out precincts where they had historically performed poorly.

Republicans won 64 out of 100 seats, giving them a majority for the first time in almost 100 years. The efficiency gap scores show Republicans picked up at least two excess seats each in MI and North Carolina.

Democratic Sen. Matt Jones was a House representative appointed to the 2011 legislative reapportionment committee.

The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election previous year using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage.

  • Larry Hoffman