AP analysis finds partisan map-making advantage in Ohio

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

The AP scrutinized all 435 U.S. House races from November using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage.

The formula compares the statewide average share of the vote that a party receives with the statewide percentage of seats the party won, taking into account that in politics, each percentage point share of statewide votes generally accounts for a 2 percentage point increase in seat share.

While state House districts are more fairly drawn in 2012 than they were when Republicans drew maps 10 years earlier, the GOP has continued to dominate in part because they've done a better job than Democrats of winning competitive districts. But Republicans have a 7-4 majority in the state's congressional delegation and now control the state House 66-34.


Yet there also were some districts that didn't appear to follow the Republican proposal, said former citizens' commission member Nick Myers, who now is secretary of the Missouri Republican State Committee. Democrats won 37 of 65 House seats, theoretically five more than would be expected based on their statewide vote share. Democrats only hold 41 of 120 state House seats, 15 of 40 Senate seats and are outnumbered in in the U.S. House 16-11. That was especially true after the 2010 census, when new Republican majorities took control of the redistricting process.

A nationwide analysis by The Associated Press shows lawmakers can cause some statehouses to skew more Democratic and others more Republican by redrawing political boundaries to cluster or divide certain groups of voters. It cuts through three counties - and has three House seats, two held by Democrats. Idaho has a 13 percent efficiency gap heavily favoring Republican congressional candidates. 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.

The formula was cited as "corroborative evidence" in a redistricting case in Wisconsin, where a federal appeals court panel last fall struck down state legislative districts as an intentional partisan gerrymander in violation of Democratic voters' constitutional rights.

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. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal. 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.

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