MADISON- Analysis from the Associated Press has provided further evidence on the effect of gerrymandering on Wisconsin’s elections. Using information from 435 House Races and 4,700 state House and Assembly seats, the Associated Press determined that the Republican party had a significant advantage in 2016’s legislative elections.
David A. Lieb at the Wisconsin State Journal reports:
The 2016 presidential contest was awash with charges that the fix was in: Republican Donald Trump repeatedly claimed that the election was rigged against him, while Democrats accused the Russians of stacking the odds in Trump’s favor.
Less attention was paid to manipulation that occurred not during the presidential race, but before it — in the drawing of lines for hundreds of U.S. and state legislative seats. The result, according to an Associated Press analysis: Republicans had a real advantage.
The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage designed to detect potential political gerrymandering.
The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts.
Traditional battlegrounds such as Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last census in 2010. . .
A separate statistical analysis conducted for the AP by the Princeton University Gerrymandering Project found the extreme Republican advantages in some states were no fluke. The Republican edge in Michigan’s state House districts had only a 1-in-16,000 probability of occurring by chance; in Wisconsin’s Assembly districts, there was a mere 1-in-60,000 likelihood of it happening randomly, the analysis found.
The AP’s analysis was based on an “efficiency gap” formula developed by University of Chicago law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. 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.
Read more at the Wisconsin State Journal.