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Dem margin in State House races: almost 350,000

by: alanfox

Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 08:46:15 AM EST

(From the diaries! - promoted by Eric B.)

The following numbers are based on the unofficial returns and I have not had a chance to double-check my data entry:

 All Dem State House candidates: 2,383,489 (53.4%)

All GOP State House candidates: 2,035,729 (45.6%)

The Republican districting succeeded in packing Democrats into overwhelmingly Democratic districts.  The 51 winning Dems won by an average margin on 16,296, almost exactly double the average margin of the 59 winning Republicans, which was 8,192

 I think the most telling description of the extent of the GOP partisan gerrymandering is this:  Excluding Districts 1-9, which are largely Detroit and in which anyone would expect overwhelming Dem margins that puff up the score, Democrats won 42 seats to the Republican's 59 and yet the Democrats had a 100,000 vote lead in total votes.

alanfox :: Dem margin in State House races: almost 350,000
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does that include the massive wins in Detroit districts that would in part remain same under democratic redistricting? If so your argument is flawed.

speaking of win margin not over all.

[ Parent ]
Seems to me
The argument still holds even if you exclude the margins in the Detroit districts. Think about it this way. In the remaining 101 districts the Reps won 59 districts with an average margin of 8,192. This gives the Reps a margin of about 483,000 in their districts. The Dems won the ex-Detroit vote by 100,000, so in their districts they won by a total of about 583,000, which, divided by their 42 seats, gives an average margin of almost 14,000 votes.

Think of it this way. There are 101 districts outside Detroit, and Dems received more votes then Reps. In a reasonable districting plan, Dems would win at least 51 of those seats, giving them a clear majority in the House. Having said that, I'm well aware that even under reasonable redistrictings the results don't necessarily work out that neatly, but as long as the Dems won at least 47 of the 101 districts (not unreasonable) they would have a majority.

One example of the Rep gerrymander in action is in my home of Oakland county. The county has 13 representatives (plus part of a 14th, but we'll ignore that). Oakland was a majority Dem county this year, and yet the Reps won 8 seats to the Dem's 5. There's nothing sneaky about this. The Reps concentrated the Dem parts of the county (RO and the rest of old Royal Oak township, Southfield, Farmington/Farmington Hills, and Pontiac)into 5 districts that likely will never go Rep, split West Bloomfield between two Rep districts, and left the rest of the county in districts that all will be hard pulls for the Dems at best. Give me a few hours with Dave's Redistricting App, and I could do one pretty easily that would give an 8D/5R result, and might even be able to come up with a 9D/4R if I put my mind to it, but that might be pushing things too far.

Another example is in Kent county. The 75th district is central GR, and the 76th crawls all over corralling Dems in the rest of the city and the adjacent suburbs. I'm betting I could find a third district there pretty easily.

[ Parent ]
We need
We need a bi-partisan/nonpartisan/citizens redistricting commission either introduced by the legislature or put on the ballot.  It won't solve everything, but it sure as hell is a start.

[ Parent ]
The Constitution of 1963 actually established such a commission - but because of a court ruling, several sections of the Constitution that were held together by a so-called "tie bar" were struck down. Among those sections was that which created this redistricting commission.

We could re-create that by adding another section to the Constitution. Other states have established that. Why not us?

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Good government
Democrats should be falling all over these "good government" reforms, since they have the most to gain from them.  I wrote my state reperesentative-elect, last night, about introducing such a bill.  

Another point: We also need to do this stuff in off-years when we can be largely assured that the ballot will be clear of other distractions.  The main reason we lost two, three, and four, this year, is because Matty slipped in his two bullshit proposals in the last few months leading up to the deadline.  Had they been off the ballot, we could have fought a fair fight.  A majority of Michiganders every time they were polled, for instance, thought collective bargaining should be a right.  If purple Ohio can repeal their governor's ban of collective bargaining, you know this thing would have passed with flying colors up here in car country had we not been inundated with "vote no on everything".

[ Parent ]
Gerrymandering surely held democrats at a huge disadvantage this election my post was not to deny that. You make some good points for sure I look forward to looking at the results in greater detail.  

However, I surely feel that gerrymandering was not wholly responsible for the Democrats not taking back the state house.

A bi-partisan panel would be a great way to fix gerrymandering, wonder if you could ever get the GOP to agree. Might make a good ballot issue.  

[ Parent ]
learning experience?
The big question for me is whether all of the democratic voters who stayed home in 2010 to teach obama a lesson will themselves learn a lesson from this experience.  I've posted this article a few times before, but the message is so important that it is worth repeating:

"Yet if two-thirds of the 28 million progressive stay-at-homes had gone to the polls last year, the U.S. Congress today would be in the hands of a solid Democratic majority beholden to liberal votes."


Several winnable seats for d's went our way
All of the North Michigan seats can flip outside of GT County (TC suburbs) and Otsego/Antrim County seats. Petallia district was even more dem than it was.

Terry Brown's district leans more R, but he won because he's Terry Brown. Huckleberry nearly became West MI's Brown again.

At least two seats were conceded to save Somerville and Zorn. Ouimet still wasn't saved, and Somerville's district is at best 50/50.  The 50/50 open Macomb seat went dem.

Schmidt's district was meant to be 50/50 and that whole fiasco cost us 2, almost three seats. Bolger conceded the Battle Creek district which was tough but competitive to save his own skin.

Van Buren and Portage districts are competitive on paper.

With municipal break rules, the gerrymandering is limited.

The problem with the dems is that a lot of them self pack. Even outside Detroit, there's Flint, Saginaw, Bay City, Marquette, Muskegon, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Ypsi, Kalamazoo, Pontiac, South Oakland, South Macomb, Downriver, and the Airport area in Wayne County.

Republicans have some self pack areas like Livingston and Ottawa/Northern Allegan Counties, but not to the same level.  

"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security" - Benjamin Franklin

Opinions are my own and not that of LCRP

What exactly do you mean self-pack?  Are you talking just generally where each side chooses to live, or are you saying the Dems draw cities, tight?  When was the last times Dems had the final say on redistricting?  It's been decades, right?

[ Parent ]
Where they live
Both sides are limited (State level) on what can be drawn in regards to redistricting due to APOL standards. That's largely in regards to number of municipal breaks.

When I see 350,000 state house margins, I see ten Detroit based districts, two Flint based districts, Southfield, Pontiac, and two Ann Arbor districts. 80/20+ in most or all of them. There's your 350,000.

Most democrats are in concentrated areas. Even a full out gerrymander from the dems within APOL rules would be limited.

Off the top of my head, I can maybe flip 5-6 seats (with a great map and great candidates) if I drew a friendly D map for state reps. I think the R map in a strange way helped by conceding some districts to try and "save" others. Bill LaVoy and Kate Segal can't ask for better districts. Washtenaw/Monroe went from 4-2 (R) to 5-1 (D).

Grand Rapids was supposed to have a tossup district. (/facepalm). I don't need to say anything more there. It almost cost Bolger. I think it hurt Romney who did not do well in West MI.

Muskegon districts couldn't be changed much with Apol, and both are now dem again. The 101st and the Alpena district can't ask for better for the dems.  

Ingham didn't change much. I thought Osterle had a shot after 2010 and no Byrum, but this year wasn't the year.

Abed got a better district this time dropping Eaton Twp, not that it would have made a huge difference.

Isabella County is now solid blue outside of state rep.

The UP is what is always is. Independent.

I think most of this all comes down to candidate recruitment. If you found the next Terry Brown or Sheltrown in some of those moderate (esp social issues) and populist districts, you all could have taken the house. That's of course easier said than done.

"He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security" - Benjamin Franklin

Opinions are my own and not that of LCRP

[ Parent ]
67 and 76
The 67th had a competitive primary on the Democratic side, giving the candidates another chance to introduce themselves to voters.

I don't think the 76th race helped or hurt either of the Presidential candidates. One would presume that in a Presidential election year, all (or at least most) turnout is driven by Presidential race, not by downballot races.

While I'm glad Dan Scripps is doing very well, had he stayed in Michigan, I wonder if he wouldn't have won his old seat back...

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
That's the point
You are right.  Sixteen districts account for the 350,000 margin.  The point is that in the REST of the state, which voted 50/50 for State Representative, the Republicans won 59 seats and the Dems won 35.

The other point is that the Apol standards were NOT followed.  The Dems in the legislature did an incompetent job of pointing this out while the plan was being considered and never sued because they did not put the resources into developing a plan that they could bring in as an alternative.

In the end, would that have mattered?
The Republican plan would've passed anyway, would it have not?

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
Term limits
I'd say that many (most?) of them probably didn't know about the Apol standards, and this is because of the revolving door legislature.  So much of what has gone in the state legislature is a simple result of plain ignorance about the institution and its rules.  Look at the immediate effect debacle.

[ Parent ]

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