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Gerrymandering Matters

by Stuart Shapiro

The 2010 elections were rightly celebrated by conservatives for gaining control of the House of Representatives.  However, the biggest victory may have been in state legislatures which allowed them to maintain control of the House through once-in-a-decade redistricting.  The results are striking:

Some analysts have already looked at the U.S. House elections from last week’s election, and determined that Democratic candidates received more popular votes than Republican candidates. Yet, it appears most likely that Republicans won 235 seats and Democrats only won 200 seats. There are still six seats in which the results aren’t final, but Democrats are leading in five of them, so it has been assumed that those candidates who are currently leading will win.

Prior to 2012, there have been only three other congressional elections in the last hundred years in which one major party won more popular votes for U.S. House, yet the other major party won more seats. They were 1914, 1942, and 1952.

The Democrats will be fighting uphill for the entire decade trying to get the House back.

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

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