Gerrymandering benefited GOP in 2016

Democracy with no choices: Many candidates run unopposed

Democracy with no choices: Many candidates run unopposed

Created to detect cases in which one party may have secured power through political gerrymandering, it found that the GOP may have won as many as 22 additional congressional seats more than expected.

The analysis showed that Idaho is among the top 10 states in the country with the biggest "efficiency gap", or the percentage of seats won by Republicans beyond what would be expected based on their statewide average share of votes.

That bucks a national trend in which Republicans control two-thirds of all statehouses.

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. But Republicans have a 7-4 majority in the state's congressional delegation and now control the state House 66-34. That would make for an expectation of about 65 percent, or 65 seats, going to Republicans in Indiana.

The efficiency gap is the subject of a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court. But many Democratic candidates will be facing a stacked deck as Virginia is one of several states where favorably drawn districts have given Republicans a measurable advantage in past elections, an Associated Press analysis shows.

Under the 2011 map, Republicans now fill 13 of Pennsylvania's 18 seats in the U.S. House - or 72 percent - despite winning 54 percent of the statewide congressional vote in 2016.

The AP analyzed the 2016 election results using an "efficiency gap" formula developed by University of Chicago law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and researcher Eric McGhee of the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

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The AP also calculated efficiency gap scores for U.S. House elections, translating those into estimates of extra seats won because of partisan advantages.

Still, experts say, Republicans generally benefit far more from gerrymandering than Democrats, since they hold control of the majority of state legislatures and governors' mansions. 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.

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.

"The Democrats don't know how to run campaigns; they're terrible at it", he said.

One of the largest Democratic congressional advantages was in Maryland, where Democrats controlled redistricting.

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

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

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