kens*ten: a political blog

Red States to Gain House Seats, Electoral Votes for 2012

Red States Rising

The United States Constitution mandates a national census every ten years.  The reason: the apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives among the various states.  This redistribution is based on population.  As states gain or lose population in proportion to the other states, their respective shares of the 435 House seats changes.

A review of preliminary 2010 Census data by Election Data Services (EDS) points toward a Republican advantage in the 2012 election.  The Census Bureau releases their official report in late December.

EDS projections suggest gains by “Red States” such as Texas (+4), Florida (+2), Arizona (+1), Georgia (+1), South Carolina (+1) and Utah (+1). “Swing State” Nevada and “Blue State” Washington also may gain one seat each.

When some states gain, other states must lose.  The brunt of the lost seats will occur in Blue States: New York (-2), Illinois (-1), Iowa (-1), Massachusetts (-1), Michigan (-1), New Jersey (-1) and Pennsylvania (-1).  Swing States Ohio (-2) and Missouri (-1) are expected to lose seats along with Red State Louisiana (-1).

The net results: Red States +9, Blue States -7 and Swing States -2.

The impact these gains and losses will have on the House in 2012 is more problematic.  Each state is responsible for dividing their geographic area into districts of nearly exact population.  The ensuing re-districting battles — especially in states losing one or more seats — will largely hinge on which party controls the state legislature.  The vast majority of states are holding state legislative elections in November. With the GOP riding a nationwide wave of frustration, they are poised to capture many legislatures from the Democrats. When the GOP lacks a majority, Republican governors can often use the threat of veto to leverage a more beneficial map.  But, much will depend on local political conditions.

As the number of Electoral Votes per state is the sum of its House seats plus two (for their Senators), this reapportionment makes it a little easier for the GOP presidential candidate to reach the 270-EV majority.  Assuming they run a candidate that can win in 2012.

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