Analysis shows slight advantage for GOP in Kentucky House districts

Posted June 26, 2017

The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly elections previous year, using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage created to detect potential political gerrymandering.

The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election past year using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage. But Republicans have a 7-4 majority in the state's congressional delegation and now control the state House 66-34.

Rather, the number of statehouse seats occupied by Republicans and Democrats closely tracks with the ratio of voters choosing Republican and Democratic statehouse candidates statewide in the 2016 election, taking into account candidates who ran unopposed previous year.

Likewise, he said state Senate maps are drawn fairly, but Democrats underperform in districts they should win.

Toscano said opposition to Trump is so strong that it's overcome the reluctance Democratic candidates have had in the past to compete in a district with Republican-friendly boundaries.

Under the redistricting plan approved in 2012, the 400 House seats are divided among 204 districts, with the number of seats in each district ranging from one to 11, based on population.

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Republicans went into the map-drawing exercise - required every decade after the census - to protect their 12 incumbents in Congress, the result of a 2010's GOP wave election on a map also drawn by Republicans a decade earlier, and to try to pick up a 13th seat. And only four other states had a lower percentage of contested races in 2016, when most states held state House elections, according to the AP's analysis.

The country's biggest advantage at an estimated 3.7 excess U.S. House seats for the GOP was Texas, fueled by an "efficiency gap" of 10.3 percent. The majority and minority party leaders in each legislative chamber each select one person to serve on the commission; the state chairmen of the Republican and Democratic parties also each select a commissioner.

Republicans may have won an extra congressional seat over what would have been expected based on the average vote share around the state that shows a large so-called "efficiency gap".

Republican critics of Democratic concerns over gerrymandering point to what they say is Democrats' poor campaigning, their concentration in cities-a sort of "voluntary gerrymandering", some say-and their lack of incumbents to explain the Republican voting advantage. Their mathematical model was cited last fall as "corroborative evidence" by a federal appeals court panel that struck down Wisconsin's Assembly districts as an intentional partisan gerrymander in violation of Democratic voters' rights to representation.

The efficiency gap is the subject of a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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