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Sun Apr 06, 2014 at 02:43 PM PDT

A Fair Map of Washington

by jncca

After a visit to Washington over spring break, I wanted to try my best to draw a COI map of the state, which I don't believe I've seen drawn before.  I believe my effort was fair.  My guidelines:

1) Respect counties, but don't make them the top priority, especially in the SeaTac metro area.
2) Try to keep blue-collar and white-collar areas separate where possible.
3) Don't split Tacoma
4) Don't double-cross the Cascades
5) Respect communities of interest where they are clear, regarding economic status and metropolitan area.

The state map is at the end, but here are the 10 districts.

1st: Susan DelBene (D)
PVI: D+7
Rating: Safe D
Communities: Northern Seattle suburbs, including Everett, Marysville, Lynnwood, Bothell, and North Creek.
How'd I do on COI?: Pretty well.  This district is all areas tied to Seattle and is pretty cleanly drawn.  However, it's a mix of blue-collar and white-collar, but that's unavoidable.

2nd: Rick Larsen (D)
PVI: Even
Rating: Tossup
Communities: Bellingham, Mt. Vernon, Anacortes, Oak Harbor, Arlington...basically everywhere north of the Seattle area and west of the Cascades, plus two counties east of them including the Wenatchee area.
How'd I do on COI?: Well, you have to cross the Cascades somewhere.  I chose this area because if you cross in the south the Yakima area gets split and if you cross in the middle, you combine Seattle suburbs with Eastern Washington and that's even worse.  However, I recognize that the roads here are not as good as other cross-Cascade connections.  Larsen would be in for a tough fight here every cycle, although my guess is the Republican electorate here is very conservative and that could lead to less electable candidates.

3rd: Jaime Herrera Beutler (R)
PVI: R+2
Rating: Lean R if Democrats ever actually recruit someone here.
Communities: Portland suburbs in Clark County, Longview, and small towns/rural areas.
How'd I do on COI?: Wonderfully.  Technically the Cascades are crossed again but only to pick up a few thousand people.  This district is almost identical to the current 3rd except for some precinct changes in Thurston County.

4th: OPEN (R), Doc Hastings (R) retiring
PVI: R+12
Rating: Safe R
Communities: Yakima, the Tri-Cities, Pullman, rural areas
How'd I do on COI?: I like this configuration better than any other way to do Eastern Washington.  It's the cleanest option and respects communities of interest.  This district is also only 69% White, the second most diverse in the state thanks to Hispanic agricultural workers.

5th: Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R)
PVI: R+8
Rating: Safe R
Communities: Spokane area, rural areas
How'd I do on COI?: I think it's a good district.

6th: Derek Kilmer (D)
PVI: D+4, Murray 51-49 in 2010
Rating: Lean/Likely D
Communities: Tacoma and most of its suburbs, although not the wealthiest ones
How'd I do on COI?: I don't like the extension into Kitsap County but it makes the rest of the map work better.  Otherwise it's much better than previous maps which have tacked Tacoma onto the Olympic Peninsula and split it from its suburbs.  In terms of competitiveness, the fact that Dino Rossi couldn't win it in 2010 makes me feel Kilmer should be safe unless there's another monstrous Republican wave.

7th: Jim McDermott (D)
PVI: D+28
Rating: Safer than Safe D.  It's probably be Safe Communist too if the alternative was a Republican.
Communities: Seattle except its poorest neighborhoods, Vashon and Bainbridge Islands, and a few suburbs north of the city.
How'd I do on COI?: Creating a blue-collar 9th meant splitting Seattle.  This is the wealthier three quarters of the city combined with middle to upper middle class suburbs.  That makes a D+28 district which is also 75% White, which is a Marin County level of White and liberal.  Other than the split of Seattle, I like the COI, but the split of Seattle is justifiable too.

8th: Dave Reichert (R)
PVI: D+4, Rossi 50-50 in 2010
Rating: Tossup.  D+4 is very tough for Republicans to hold but Reichert has won tough turf in the past and the district's ancestrally Republican.
Communities: Wealthier suburbs, including Redmond, Bellevue, Sammamish, Mercer Island, Maple Valley, Covington, Bonney Lake, and Puyallup.
How'd I do on COI?: I love this one.  Purely white-collar and not ugly.

9th: Adam Smith (D)
PVI: D+13.  Interestingly this 54% White district is quite a bit less Democratic than McDermott's.
Rating: Safe D.
Communities: South Seattle (the poor part) plus blue-collar communities between Seattle and Tacoma such as Federal Way, Renton, Des Moines, and Kent.  A few middle-class areas are tacked on to meet population.
How'd I do on COI?: I think it's great.  Not every town in here fits but that's due to population, not my map.

10th: Denny Heck (D)
PVI: D+4, Murray 53-47 in 2010
Rating: Likely D.  Murray's strong performance here means it's the safest of the 3 Dem-leaning seats by PVI.
Communities: Olympia, Bremerton, and the beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
How'd I do on COI?: The Olympic Peninsula should be added to Olympia, not Tacoma, and I did that here.  I think this district is damn near perfect considering you have to add it to something less rural than the peninsula itself.

To summarize, that means we have:
3 Safe Democratic
1 Likely Democratic
1 Lean/Likely Democratic
2 Tossups
1 Lean Republican
2 Safe Republican

In 2010, this may have been 6-4 GOP (but probably 5-5), while in 2008 it may have been 8-2 Democratic.  


How would you grade this map?

42%19 votes
37%17 votes
8%4 votes
8%4 votes
2%1 votes

| 45 votes | Vote | Results


The title of this diary may seem intuitive.  Liberal areas elect liberals.  Liberals like public transit, both for economic and environmental reasons.  Conservative areas don't elect liberals.  Conservatives like public transit less, both for economic and environmental reasons.  However, I decided to actually see how strong the correlation is, and the results are so incredibly strong I wanted to share them anyway.

First, I want to briefly explain my methodology.

Urban Area = The Census-defined urban areas.  However, I combined San Francisco and San Jose because, as a local, I can tell you it is one continuous urban area.  Otherwise, I stuck precisely to the Census definitions.

Democratic Index = I used the Cook PVI of various urban areas, which I mapped out on Dave's Redistricting App as best I could.  This requires using 2008 numbers, which are a bit out of date.  I made adjustments for Chicago (-2%), Phoenix (+3%), Tucson (+3%), and Indianapolis (+3%), due to the weird 2008 results in all four areas due to candidate and campaign effects.  I considered doing the same for Kansas City, St. Louis, and New Orleans, all of which had somewhat weird 2008 results, but decided there wasn't enough evidence.  For example, the New York urban area voted 68% for Obama in 2008.  Since Obama got about 54% of the national vote, its Democratic index is 64.  In an neutral election, that's what the Democrat would get.

Public Transit Index = I used the American Public Transportation Association ridership report, which gives 2013 numbers for almost every urban area with 750,000 or more people.  I used the metric of rides per person per year.  I simply divided the number of unique rides of public transit by the number of people in the area to obtain a number.  Pretty simple.  One thing I will note (that I believe especially affects New York and DC) is that tourists can cause artificially high numbers.  However, I see no way to adequately adjust for this, so I left it be.

I then graphed an easy Excel scatterplot and saw that the numbers lined up closely.  Very closely.  In politics, anything above an r squared of 0.25 is pretty great.  (For those who don't know stats or need a refresher, 0.25 means that the two factors are linked with one another in a positive direction and that 25% of the variation can be explained by this link)  

When I graphed it, I immediately noticed two outliers: New York and Salt Lake City.  Even with this, however, there was an r squared of 0.31.  

That's pretty high.  As you can see, New York's ridership far, far outpaces anything else.  It's the one on the far right.  Salt Lake City is the one on the very bottom; it is by far the most conservative urban area in the country over 750,000 people (although Oklahoma City, another very red one, isn't on this chart because there wasn't data).  Eliminating these two outliers, both of which I believe are unique cases (NYC has tons of tourists that use the subway and is far denser than anywhere else, and Salt Lake City has thousands of people who would be Democrats if not for their religion to an extent not true anywhere else in the country), the graph looks like this:

Now that's some serious correlation.  So, in summary, if you want to know how liberal or conservative an area is and know nothing about politics, just look at its public transportation ridership.

What's Missing: Unfortunately, the APTA excludes 6 populous urban areas from its results: Las Vegas, Tidewater, Oklahoma City, Richmond, Jacksonville, and the Research Triangle.  DRA also doesn't have results for Portland, Providence, or Honolulu.  Therefore, only 43 of the 52 areas I wanted to use are here.  I still think the results are strong.

Briefly, here are the 5 outliers:

New York City: As I said, it's just different than anywhere else in the country.  Denser, the most tourists, incredible subway system.

Salt Lake City: I hadn't though about this until now, but I think Utah would be just like Colorado politically if it weren't Mormon.  Salt Lake City is already as blue as Denver, but the suburbs would be swingy like Denver's if they weren't full of Mormons.  St. George would still be red, like Colorado Springs, and the northern Wasatch Front would probably be purple or light red like Fort Collins/Greeley.  Everywhere else essentially has too few people to matter.  The people in Utah are no different from those in Colorado except for their religion.

Detroit: Detroit has a very low public transit rate.  Of the 43, it comes in 41st.  However, it's a pretty blue area.  My guess is that the racial divide in the area stopped construction of commuter rail during the 1960s or 1970s, and the lack of money in Detroit means they can't fund an adequate bus system.

Hartford: Hartford is far bluer than it should be, demographically speaking.  It's probably due to being in New England, although Boston wasn't an outlier.

El Paso: El Paso is in Texas, which lags in public transportation across the board (San Antonio is 21st, Austin is 22nd, El Paso is 25th, Houston is 30th, and the Metroplex is 33rd).  The racial demographics are also different; it's the only majority-Hispanic urban area over 750,000 people.

A Couple Fun Lists

Top 10, with scores: New York 220, DC 100, Bay Area 97, Boston 94, Chicago 74, Seattle 66, Philadelphia 65, Los Angeles (surprisingly high given all the crap they get for having no public transit) 51, Baltimore 48, Salt Lake City 43.  These tend to be among the 10 largest, with Seattle, Baltimore, and Salt Lake City all better than they should be and the Sun Belt areas all off the list when they should be on it.

Bottom 10, with scores: Birmingham 4, Indianapolis 7, Detroit 8, Memphis 10, Kansas City 11, Nashville 11, Tampa Bay 12, Cincinnati 13, Inland Empire 13, Columbus 14.  

Abnormally Low, Given Population: Miami, Metroplex, Houston, Detroit, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Inland Empire, Indianapolis, Birmingham

Abnormally High, Given Population: Bay Area, DC, Seattle, Boston, Portland, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Buffalo, Hartford, Honolulu  


Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 02:07 PM PST

2004 vs. 2012: The Great Plains

by jncca

This is part 3 of my installment on the changes between 2004 and 2012 in various states.  In Part 1, I examined Virginia, North Carolina, and Colorado, while in Part 2 I looked at Georgia and Florida.  

Now here is Part 3.  It's a bit different.  There are more states, but none of them are probably quite as exciting as new swing states Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia, classic swing state Florida, or potential swing state Georgia.

I'll begin with two "twin states," Kansas and Nebraska.  Really, the only difference is that Kansas has a few more people and Nebraska has a more competitive congressional district.  But other than that, they're as similar as two states can be, both physically and politically.

As you can see, Obama outperformed Kerry in Kansas, as he did in 42 states.  The real area of decline for Democrats was the northwestern quarter of the state, including the town of Hays.  This area is somewhat ancestrally Democratic, at least as far as Kansas goes; Bill Clinton won the county containing Hays, although in some counties in the area he came in third behind Ross Perot.  However, it's important to keep in mind how sparsely populated rural Kansas is.  Leavenworth County, in exurban Kansas City, is another problematic county for Democrats, probably due to population growth.  There are some other sparsely populated counties that got redder as well.

For Democrats, as everywhere, the cities and suburbs have solidified.  Sedgwick County (Wichita) and Johnson County (KC Suburbs) are the big growth engines, responsible for 23,000 of the 53,000 net vote gain in the state.  All the rural counties combined were responsible for only 16,000, with a fair amount of that centered in the towns of Liberal, Garden City, Dodge City (all in the west and diversifying) as well as Manhattan and Emporia.  Shawnee County (Topeka), Douglas County (Lawrence), and Wyandotte County (Kansas City) have all seen some growth as well.  Kansas is actually very representative of the country in this way.  Cities are good for Democrats, suburbs are good to fair, and exurbs are bad in terms of improvement, while rural areas can be all over the place.

In neighboring Nebraska, it's a similar but bluer story.  

Only 5 counties got redder, and 2 of them are massive in geography but not so much in population.  One county stayed exactly the same, while the rest got bluer.  Democratic growth was mainly in Omaha-Bellevue, as well as Lincoln.  Moderate gains were seen in Kearney, Hastings, Grand Island, Norfolk, and pretty much anywhere with over 10,000 people.  

Minnesota has lots of red for a blue state due to its ancestral Democratic heritage in many rural parts of the state.  Only 18% of the growth came in the rural areas, which make up 31% of the state's vote.  

The Democratic gains, as always, are concentrated in the cities and inner suburbs.  61% of the increase comes from Hennepin and Ramsey Counties alone.  If Dakota, Anoka, and Washington (the suburbs) are included, that increases to 79%.  Southern and Northwestern Minnesota both showed Democratic improvement, particularly in Mankato, Rochester, Moorhead, Crookston, and Bemidji.  For Republicans, good news can be seen in the outer suburbs; Democrats barely gained in Scott and Carver counties and lost ground in Wright and Sherburne.  Furthermore, like union Democrat areas nationally, the Iron Range is getting worse for Democrats, although it's still quite blue.  Finally, Central Minnesota, including St Cloud and Morrison County, look better for Team Red.  

Indiana was surprise win for Obama in 2008, but it stayed far better than 2004 numbers last cycle.  

Personally, I'm surprised how well Obama held up in Southern Indiana compared to other Border South areas.  Southwestern Indiana, where this is coal, is his lone weak spot, along with two random counties in the north and some of exurban Cincinnati.  Nearly every population center improved substantially.  Marion County had huge gains (31% of the state's gains), and the corridor from Gary to Elkhart improved as well.  Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Evansville, Bloomington, Muncie, Anderson, and Lafayette all did well.  Obama underperformed in Terre Haute but still overperformed Kerry.  One area missing: the suburbs of Indianapolis.  They barely register here, making up 13% of the state's population but only 5% of Obama's improvement.  Democrats' goal should be to make more inroads here, as they saw better numbers in most other midwestern suburban areas.  As you can see, many rural counties also saw good numbers for Democrats; they are the second lightest shade of blue rather than the lightest as is the case in Minnesota.

Finally, we get to Missouri, where the bottom fell out for Obama in 2012.

There are merely 11 counties in the state where Obama outperformed Kerry, and in fact this is one of the 8 states where he underperformed him in total.  3 of the 11 have large Black populations: St Louis City, St Louis County, and Jackson County (Kansas City).  Five more have population centers: the towns of Springfield, Joplin, Columbia, Jefferson City, and Sedalia all had good numbers.  However, minus the other 3 random counties, there were bad numbers everywhere.  The St Louis suburbs and exurbs are brutally red, as are the Kansas City exurbs, a big contrast from the numbers across the border in Kansas.  This is apparently what happens when you go from competing in a state (2004) to not competing in it (2012).

And that concludes Part 3.


Which state would you like to see next?

22%22 votes
4%4 votes
19%19 votes
12%12 votes
11%11 votes
29%28 votes

| 96 votes | Vote | Results


The following diary is an alternate history.  There are two ground rules:
1) As with the 1920 Census, the 2000 reapportionment did not occur, nor did the one in 2010.
2) No districts were altered despite population disparities.  In other words, the districts from the 2000 congressional elections were kept.
In this diary, I will be going state-by-state through how this alters what happened in reality and finally looking at the composition of the House of Representatives to see how things changed.  One important thing to note is that competitive districts often lead to more money for challengers.  Therefore, I counted any race where an incumbent beat an underfunded challenger by 4% or less as an incumbent defeat and one where they beat them by 5% or 6% as a potential defeat.  After each map, I will give a rating of how many times it caused the other side to win.  For example, a map which on the old lines caused two more Democrats to win, each for three terms, would receive an R+6.  Republicans gained 6 terms of Republican congressmembers through their mapmaking skills.  

Category 1: States Where Results Barely Budged

There are many states where redistricting makes little to no difference.  They comprise a few groups.
1) 1-District States: These cannot be gerrymandered.  They are Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Delaware, and Vermont
2) Districts That Don’t Change: In a few states, the district lines are historic and move only as much as necessary.  These are small states.  They are Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Nebraska, Kansas, and New Mexico.
3) Medium States that Don’t Budge Much: These states are similar to category 2, but they have changed the lines somewhat in the recent past even when it wasn’t necessary.  Some of these states also were forced to add or subtract a district in the last 20 years due to reapportionment, and I will go slightly more in depth with them in a bit.  The states that have kept the same number of districts and same general shape since 1992 are Oregon, Arkansas, and Kentucky.  That is not to say they aren’t gerrymandered, by any means.  Massachusetts, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and South Carolina make up the second category here.  The first four lost districts, while South Carolina gained one.
Massachusetts’s lost district, like all its other districts, was a Democratic one, John Olver’s.  Since it has only been gone one term, the Massachusetts map gets a score of R+0.5 (as adding a district is only half of a “flip” compared to winning a seat the other party holds).  Connecticut, which lost Jim Maloney’s blue district centered around Waterbury, Danbury, and Meriden, gets a score of R+4 (Chris Shays would have lost in 2006 instead of 2008 under the old lines.  Mississippi was forced to eliminate Blue Dog Ronnie Shows in 2002.  His old district was the second bluest in the state but still would have voted for Bush twice, McCain, and then Romney.  Considering these facts, I am going to assume that Shows loses in 2010 along with fellow Democrat Gene Taylor.  That gives the Mississippi map a score of R+1.  Oklahoma shed former Democrat, but current Republican Wes Watkins, who held a district in the southeast quadrant of the state.  That map gets a D+3.  South Carolina of course added Republican Tom Rice in 2012, so their map is an R+0.5.  

Category 2: Interesting, But No Real Changes

Here is Minnesota’s old map.  .  In the 2000s, there were many close races in Minnesota house districts.  Five of the eight districts held races that were considered tossups, probably the highest percentage of any state with a double-digit number of electoral votes.  And the map did change the partisanship of the districts.  In 2000, John Kline’s district moved right while Mark Kennedy’s moved left; in 2010 the opposite happened, with Erik Paulsen’s moving rightward as well.  Despite all this, using the 1990s map leads to no changes in the final outcomes.   And here is Washington’s.  It merits a D+0.5 because of the new 10th district, added in 2012.  However, nothing else changes on the older map.  Amazingly, Dave Reichert, between 2004 and 2012, wins by four, two, four, four, and eight (or possibly fewer, since his 2012 challenger was weak) points.  Yet he always wins.  Of course, on the new map his district is redder.
Iowa is a similar case; it also had many close races over the past six cycles.  The old map is radically different from the current one.    However, besides the fact that Boswell still has his own seat instead of getting merged with Latham, nothing much changes here.  This means Iowa is an R+0.5 map.  Of note, however, is that Steve King is much more vulnerable on the old map.  He wins by 8 in 2006 and 7 in 2008 against no-name challengers and by only 2 in 2012 against Christie Vilsack.

Category 3: Moderate Drama

Now, things really start to get interesting.  In 2002, Alabama’s Democrats still controlled the state legislature, and they drew what they thought was a great gerrymander.  And really, it was quite nice, weakening the Blue Dog 3rd and keeping the 5th safe for Bud Cramer, a strong play for a 3-4 map in a red state.  It fell apart when Joe Turnham lost to Mike Rogers in the 3rd, but where it really turns out the map helped was in the 2nd district.  You see, this was the old map.    On this map, Jay Love beats Bobby Bright 51-48 in 2008 instead of narrowly losing to him.  So I’d say this is still a pretty well done gerrymander.  It gets a score of D+1.

Indiana was also drawn by the Democrats in 2002.    It worked out pretty well, but the old map actually would have led to the same results in the competitive 8th and 9th districts in the southern part of the state.  Where it really mattered was in the 2nd. In 2006, Joe Donnelly wins, old map or new, 52-48 on the old.  However, he would have lost in 2010 instead of narrowly hanging on, a 49-46 defeat to be exact.  This may have caused him to not run for Senate (or it might have encouraged him to, one never knows), but either way that means Indiana’s map is also a D+1.

Missouri’s big story of the past decade was Ike Skelton’s defeat and the confinement of the Democratic party to essentially Kansas City, St. Louis and its inner suburbs, St Joseph, and Columbia. But let’s examine the old map.    This 3rd district is much redder than the one Russ Carnahan inherited from Dick Gephardt, which means Missouri would have seen a Congressman Martin (Ed, to be specific) in 2010, at which point he may well have taken over Todd Akin’s seat when his own was eliminated, depriving Republicans of rising star Ann Wagner.  This map scores at a D+0.5 when you add in the fact that the 3rd was eliminated, but I put it in this category due to the drama.

Nevada is here because most of the excitement is purely from the population growth.  The 1st district was Vegas, the 2nd was everything else, which means it grew explosively between 1990 and 2010.  That causes Dean Heller to lose to Jill Derby in 2006, 49-47.  She holds the seat in 2008 and then loses it (I would presume, although it’s possible she holds on) in 2010.  That gives it an R+2 from the lines and a D+1 from reapportionment, for an R+1 total.

Wisconsin is the last state in this category and it’s all due to the eliminated 5th district, which combined blue Milwaukee County with red Wauke$ha.  When Gerry Kleczka retires in 2004 from this seat, the southern of the two blue ones in the east seen here, , who knows what happens?  I’m calling the district a tossup all the way from 2004 to the present day, although it probably swings with the tides in 2006, 2008, and 2010.  

I’m not going to go in-depth on Utah, but on the 1990s map Jim Matheson wins by double digits even in 2012 and doesn’t retire in 2014.  There is also no 4th district, so it’s a D+0.5.

Category 4: Major Changes in 1 Seat

Colorado is a mix of reapportionment and redistricting affecting the results.  The old map is here.    The 6th, the lightest red on the map, is the one we want to examine; other districts switched hands but not due to the mapmakers.  This 6th was carved in two in 2002, Tom Tancredo’s safely Republican 6th and Bob Beauprez’s swingy 7th, later to be Ed Perlmutter’s starting in 2006.  If the 6th were kept whole (and very overpopulated), Tom Tancredo would be in major trouble as a bombthrower in a purple seat.  In 2004, he wins only 52-47, and in 2006 51-47 against a no-name.  In my calculations, that means with DCCC investment and recruitment, which would surely happen in a purple seat, Tancredo loses, followed by Democrats giving the seat back in 2010.  The map’s score thus ends up at R+3.

The 2000 Michigan redistricting was pretty brutal for Democrats. The old map was this one.    I’m going to go through all the interesting districts here since there are quite a few.  The 1st (North), 7th (South Central), and 9th (the only red one near Detroit) all flipped back and forth due to the candidates and the year, not the maps.  The 1990s map doesn’t change that.  The 8th (Lansing) is still kept by Mike Rogers all decade, but he won 52-46 in 2006 and 53-44 in 2008, both against underfunded candidates, on this old map, so it’s conceivable he may have lost one or both of those races.  
The other districts are more complicated because of how much they changed due to Republican gerrymandering.  Lynn Rivers (Ann Arbor) and John Dingell (Southeast) were merged into one blue district, while Thad McCotter got to take a pretty safely Republican seat in the Detroit suburbs with the shreds of both seats.  That gives the Republicans 6 seats right there.  David Bonoir held a swing seat in the east of the state (it’s the one that says 94 inside it on this map), but he chose to run for governor in 2002.  I don’t know for sure if this was due to redistricting or not; I’m playing this conservative so I’m going to assume he was going to run anyway.  Regardless, Republican Candice Miller, won by such a ridiculous margin, 59-40 under the old lines, that he might have lost either way and she certainly would have won even on those older lines, so I’m considering this a seat the GOP would have won regardless.  Michigan’s old 5th district, a C-shaped one containing Bay City and Saginaw, was safe for labor Democrat Jim Barcia, but his district was completely eliminated in redistricting.  This gave Republicans another 3 seats, 0.5 times 6.  Dale Kildee was the lucky beneficiary; his old district stretched from Flint into the southeast, taking in rapidly suburbanizing northern Oakland and Macomb Counties.  It was a pale blue in 2002 and by 2010 may have shifted to pure purple.  Regardless, he loses 53-45 (if not more) to Some Dude John Kuipec in 2010 and may have been completely blown out by a better challenger, Virg Bernero-style.  The 2012 election would then be a tossup.  In sum, this map is R+9.  I have to give the Republicans credit here.

New Jersey is similar to Michigan.  All the action is in a couple districts.    This is the old map.  Thanks to strong Republican incumbency, the swingy 2nd is safely Republican on either the 1990s or 2000s map.  In fact, only the 6th, 7th, and 12th are interesting in the slightest (and of course on this map Steve Rothman continues to serve in Congress, so this map starts off at R+0.5).  Let’s start with the 6th.  The old, redder 6th district causes Frank Pallone to only win by 4 in 2010 against an okay challenger, but Republicans never win it.  The 3rd was interesting in reality, but in this counterfactual nothing changes from that reality, so in my mind it’s pretty boring.  Mike Ferguson was a big winner on the 2000s map.  On the older one (his district is the lighter red one in the northern half of the state), he wins 50-48, 52-47, and 51-48.  And that’s all before the Democratic wave years, in which his seat is one of the top pickup opportunities.  I have him losing to Linda Stender 54-43 on these lines.  It’s unclear how she does in 2010, so I have that one a tossup, but regardless Democrats hold the seat again in 2012 with either Stender or Upendra Chivukula.  The 12th is somewhat the opposite (it’s pale blue here).  Rush Holt, fresh off a less than 1% victory in 2000, cements himself pretty well in the seat, but 2010 is bad enough that it doesn’t matter and he goes down 51-48 to Scott Sipprelle, who loses in 2012 after a somewhat fluky, Buerkle-esque victory.  In total, this map merits an R+3.

Tennessee is the one state you’d think we’d have gotten to by now.  If you’re wondering why, it’s due to strong Democratic gerrymandering in 2002.    On this map, the highly elongated 4th took in enough of Appalachia and the southern tier of the state to stay red alongside some Blue Dog neighbors.  Democrats changed that, helping Lincoln Davis to victory, but here we’re assuming that doesn’t happen.  In that case, you can say hello to Congresswoman Janice Bowling.  If you’ve never heard of her, you aren’t the only one.  She would make Tennessee the only state with three female Republican members of Congress in this alternate scenario and would have beaten Davis by a hair, 49-49.  This also would mean no Scott DesJarlais.  Tennessee is a D+4, the best score so far for Democrats.

Category 5: Gerrymandering Galore

Arizona is similar to Nevada; lots of demographic changes and some very overpopulated districts assuming the old map is kept.  
I’m going to go year-by-year here.

2002: Rick Renzi succeeds Bob Stump in the northwestern district (a mix of the current Kirkpatrick and Franks districts), 54-42.  Due to lack of reapportionment, Trent Franks and Raul Grijalva don’t get to Congress.
2006: Harry Mitchell beats JD Hayworth 50-46 and Gabby Giffords picks up the 8th 55-42.
2008: Rick Renzi leaves Congress to face trial for bribery.  However, his district is far redder than the one in reality.  Ann Kirkpatrick wins the Democratic nomination, but my guess is she faces someone stronger than Sydney Hay.  If it’s Hay, Kirkpatrick wins 50-45, and it’s a Tossup against an actual elected official.  John Shadegg and Harry Mitchell both hold onto their seats, 52-43 and 53-44 respectively.
2010: If Kirkpatrick wins in 2008, she loses to Paul Gosar 55-38 here, making her initial victory a real fluke.  Ben Quayle wins an open seat 50-42, Dave Schweikert beats Mitchell 53-43, and Gabby Giffords holds on 50-47.
2012: Ron Barber wins the special election to succeed Giffords and then loses to Martha McSally 51-49.  Quayle and Schweikert aren’t merged, meaning no Sinema, and the new 4th district which Gosar jumped to in reality doesn’t open up.
In short, this map is a disaster for Democrats.  It merits a D+3, since the real maps were better for Team Blue than this one.

Georgia was a Democratic gerrymander (and a bit of a dummymander) in the 1990s, so that is the map we are sticking with here.  

For some background, Sanford Bishop (blue in the south) and Bob Barr (light red in the west) were coming off competitive re-elections, and Saxby Chambliss (south central) left office to run for Senate.  
2002: Firstly, reapportionment never happens.  This is terrible news for Democrats, as David Scott’s safe seat isn’t created, nor is the new eastern seat that is held by Republican Max Burns for one term but is then held by John Barrow until today.  That’s D+5 off the bat.  Secondly, due to the lack of redistricting, Phil Gingrey is never endangered and even worse for Democrats, Jim Marshall doesn’t win to replace Chambliss.  Instead, Calder Clay takes the seat 54-46.  Honestly, it’s kind of fitting; his name is almost as awesome as Chambliss’s.
2004, 2006, and 2008: Nothing.  Democrats hold only 3 of the 11 seats.  
2010: Democrats drop to 2, with Sanford Bishop losing to Mike Keown 53-46 in a redder seat.
2012: Keown wins, although it’s probably pretty close.
So this map is D+11.  Just brutal.

Louisiana, like Minnesota, had a lot of close races last decade, and here many of them go the opposite way.  This is the map we are using.  
You can see there is one Black district, two Cajun districts, two northern districts, and two other districts.  In 2000, nothing was that close; Republicans held the red seats, Democrats won the Black seat, and Chris John won the southwestern Blue Dog seat.
2002: 6 districts weren’t close, but the open 5th was.  In real life, Democrat Rodney Alexander, now a Republican, narrowly beat Republican Lee Fletcher thanks to Democratic gerrymandering.  Here Fletcher wins 52-48, but the impact is relatively small since Alexander switched in 2004 anyways.  To finish up, Fletcher suffered a tragic death from cancer in his 40s and thus wouldn’t still be in Congress today.
2004: This is where Democrats fall apart on the old map.  Charles Boustany wins John’s seat 55-45, not too different from reality.  In actuality, Charlie Melancon won an upset victory to take the 3rd district in the southeast of the state, but on the older map, where more of the suburban areas are included, Melancon loses 51-49 to Billy Tauzin III, dropping Democrats down to 1 seat out of 7.
2008: A special election leads to a brief partial term for Democrat Don Cazayoux in the Baton Rouge district, but I’m ignoring that.  More interestingly, Democrats move up to 2 seats rather than falling to 0.  How?  Bill Jefferson manages to win despite the $10,000 in his freezer, but only 49-47.  Paul Carmouche also wins the open 4th 48-48 over John Fleming, although I’m certain it would be a one-term rental.
2010: Jefferson resigns due to conviction and Carmouche loses.  
2012: Tauzin’s seat isn’t eliminated.
Score: D+4.5. Another Southern map that was a lot worse for Democrats in its 1990s iteration.

Maryland’s districts have been ugly for 6 terms now thanks to the Democrats.  The map here, wasn’t that nice either but it looked better.  

We like to think of Connie Morella (well, those of us who think of her at all) as somewhat invincible, the kind of Republican who could dominate Susan Collins style in a blue area.  Looking back, that’s untrue.  In 2000, she won only 52-46.  On these older, redder lines…
2002: Helen Bentley wins 60-40 instead of Dutch Ruppersburger winning Bob Ehrlich’s seat.  Morella hangs on 53-47 (see what I mean about her not being invincible?)
2004: Faced with more bluing in Montgomery County and more straight-ticket voting in a presidential year, there’s a good chance Morella loses, but it’s not for sure.  
2006: Morella clearly loses here; stronger blue-district Republicans like Jim Leach and Nancy Johnson did.
2008: Frank Kratovil wins 54-44.
2010: Kratovil loses 50-46 to Andy Harris.
2012: Roscoe Bartlett wins, 50-46 or better.  My guess is better because John Delaney wouldn’t have run in the older iteration of the seat.  But on the old lines Bartlett beat Delaney by only four.
Score: D+8.5

Virginia has had a very effective Republican gerrymander for a while now.  You can see their attempt at an 8-3 here, which was successful for quite some time.  

In 2000, Republican Ed Schrock was coming off a 52-48 win in the light red Virginia Beach district, and Norm Sisisky had just won his last election in the larger of the two very blue districts nearby.  He would die in 2001 and be replaced with Republican Randy Forbes.  Here’s how everything else played out, starting in 2002:

2004: Schrock retired after a sex scandal, leading to Thelma Drake holding the seat 53-47.
2006: In this older version of the seat, Drake lost to Phil Kellam, 50-50.  In NoVa, Tom Davis narrowly held on 51-48.
2008: Davis retired, leaving the seat to Gerry Connolly.  Randy Forbes was held to a 55-45 victory.  Virgil Goode beat Tom Perriello 51-49.
2010: Scott Rigell beat Kellam 51-44 (or more narrowly).  Morgan Griffith beat Rick Boucher 51-46, and Gerry Connolly held on 54-45.
2012: Rigell narrowly won, 52-48 against Paul Hirschbiel.  Randy Forbes won 51-49, meaning he would have lost with a better challenger.
Score: R+1 (VA2 2006, VA5 2008, VA4 2012)

North Carolina:  This state has seen incredible gerrymandering by both sides in the past decade.  The 1990s map, while far from tame, was a moderate gerrymander.

2002: Brad Miller’s district isn’t created.
2004: Nothing of note.
2006: Robin Hayes holds on 53-47, while Heath Shuler beats Charles Taylor 54-46.
2008: Larry Kissell beats Hayes 53-47.
2010: Shuler wins 54-46 again, Kissell wins 50-46, Mike McIntyre hangs on 53-47, and Renee Ellmers beats Bob Etheridge 52-47.
2012: Democrats pick up 2 seats here rather than getting slaughtered.  Larry Kissell wins 54-46 despite weak fundraising, as does Mike McIntyre.  Heath Shuler opts to stay in office and hangs on.  (If he’d retired, Mark Meadows would win only 51-49 over Hayden Rogers, which means Rogers might have won with more party investment)  Finally, under the old lines both Renee Ellmers and Robert Pittenger win 49-48, so I’d predict both would lose with better or at least better-funded opposition, particularly Ellmers who faced a nobody.
Score: R+6

Category 6: The Big States

We have all the big states left: Illinois, California, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York.

This is Ohio’s map from the 1990s.  

The 1990s Ohio map featured five safely Democratic seats.  Marcy Kaptur had Toledo, Dennis Kucinich and Stephanie Tubbs Jones split Cleveland, Tom Sawyer had Akron, and Huck Finn had Youngstown (actually, it was Jim Traficant).  Six more seats were swingy.  Sherrod Brown had a gerrymandered seat in NE Ohio, as did Steve LaTourette.  Pat Tiberi had a Columbus seat, Tony Hall had Dayton, Ted Strickland had some Blue Dog rural areas, and Steve Chabot had Cincinnati.  The remaining eight seats were safely Republican, six rural and two suburban, one in Columbus and one in Cincinnati.  In 2000, not much was competitive.  Chabot and Tiberi both won by nine, but that was the closest of any race in that cycle in the state.  Going chronologically, once again…
2002: Tony Hall retired after over two decades in Congress.  Like David Bonoir in Michigan, I can’t prove it was due to redistricting, so I’m going to be conservative and assume it wasn’t.  Mike Turner won the open seat 54-46 (on the bluer old map), so I’m certainly not sure he’d have beaten Hall had Hall not retired, but as I said I’m assuming Hall retires anyway.  Ted Strickland, vulnerable in a far less blue seat on this map (you can see how it goes far from traditionally Democratic Southeast Ohio into the Cincinnati exurbs), wins 53-47.   Tom Sawyer isn’t eliminated.
2004: Nothing of note, despite the size of the state.
2006: The Democratic wave causes many Republican seats to become vulnerable.  First and foremost, Bob Ney’s scandal causes Democrat Zack Space to easily pick up the seat.  Republicans Jean Schmidt (53-47), Mike Turner (54-46 vs. a weak opponent and Steve LaTourette (52-45 vs. a weak opponent as well) win by moderate margins.  Democrats do pick up two seats they would have picked up in 2008 anyways.  Steve Chabot goes down to John Cranley, 52-48, while Mary Jo Kilroy beats Deborah Pryce 51-49.
2008: John Boccieri wins an open seat 55-45 in Canton, and LaTourette wins 53-44.  Kilroy and Cranley let the wave carry them to victory.
2010: Here it gets a bit crazy.  Three Democratic incumbents (Boccieri, Kilroy, and Charlie Wilson, who replaced Strickland) lose by double digits in this brutal year for the party.  Dennis Kucinich wins 52-45 in his blue seat.  Bob Gibbs defeats Zack Space 50-45.  Finally, in a real shocker, Tom Ganley beats Betty Sutton (Sherrod Brown’s replacement) 50-50 in the oddly shaped outer Cleveland area seat.  Also, John Cranley hangs on 51-47 (I’m assuming he’s equally as strong as Steve Dreihaus), one of the few Democrats to do so in a competitive seat.
2012: Ganley, who faced rape allegations and barely won in 2010, clearly loses, since the seat isn’t eliminated.  Pat Tiberi wins only 54-46, as does Steve Stivers, both against no-name opposition.  Gibbs wins 55-45, underperforming.  Finally, David Joyce replaces LaTourette and wins 49-44.
Score: R+4.5

Florida has gained a lot of seats in recent decades.  Back in 1990 they only had 23.  Here is the north: .  And here is the south:

In 2000, two Republicans narrowly won: Ric Keller in the Orlando area and the late Clay Shaw along the coast in South Florida.  Proceeding from there,
2002: Firstly, the new districts (Diaz-Balart, then Rivera, then Garcia in South Florida and Feeney, then Kosmas, then Adams, then Mica on the Space Coast) are not created.  We see four moderately close races.  Winning with 54% of the vote are Clay Shaw, Katherine Harris, and Corinne Brown.  The last two dramatically underperform, especially Brown.  Karen Thurman wins 51-43 rather than losing her seat; she was a redistricting casualty in North Florida, representing Gainesville and coastal areas.
2004: Thurman wins, but it’s impossible to know by how much.  Harris wins 55-45.
2006: Ric Keller holds on 50-49, but other Republicans are less lucky.  Mark Foley resigns and his seat is won by Democrats 54-43.  Ron Klein thrashes Clay Shaw, 58-40.  Finally, Christine Jennings defeats Vern Buchanan in the open Sarasota seat, 51-49.
2008: Alan Grayson beats Ric Keller 55-45, and Tom Rooney takes back Foley’s seat easily.
2010: There are multiple question marks here, but let’s start with the knowns.  What we know for sure is Dan Webster beats Alan Grayson by double digits.  Ron Klein holds off Allen West 53-47.  Steve Southerland takes the North Florida Blue Dog seat 50-45.  Beyond that, I’m assuming Jennings loses, as she narrowly won in a wave year.  Kathy Castor wins 53-47 at best, but the GOP may have challenged her better in the redder seat that didn’t include St Petersburg.  My guess is she still wins, but it’s a Tossup.  Finally I’d guess Republicans strongly challenge Karen Thurman and they just might beat her, especially since the coastal areas have been growing with Republican retirees.
2012: If Thurman wins in 2010, she does fine here.  If she loses to Richard Nugent, it’s unknown whether he wins or loses himself.  Southerland wins 52-48.  Tom Rooney vs. Patrick Murphy would also be a Tossup in a purple seat.  Finally, Val Demings thrashes Dan Webster 56-44.  Reapportionment denies Florida Alan Grayson Part Two and one of Rooney and Murphy.  
Score: R+4

Texas: This is by far the biggest question mark, and my numbers here may be off.  Texas Republicans redrew the map in 2004 and intentionally drew Blue Dog Democrats into areas that are Republican downballot instead of swingy downballot, so using the presidential numbers here may screw things up far more than it does in other states, and it’s all I have access to.  Considering pretty much no other Southern Democrats lost in 2004 in the House, it seems unlikely multiple ones did in Texas, but it’s possible it’d have happened anyway.  
 Here’s the statewide view.
This is the Dallas area.
 And this is Houston and Austin.

In 2000, Chet Edwards won 55-45, but nothing was even within single digits.
2002: Lack of reapportionment means no Jeb Hensarling in the Dallas area or John Carter in Williamson County.  Three races were competitive.  Charlie Stenholm’s West Texas district went for him only 53-46, as did Chet Edwards’s neighboring district.  Finally, Henry Bonilla, a Republican from the vast Mexican Border area, won 51-48.  
2004: This is the year I’m unsure about.  According to my adjustments, a few of the Texas Democrats drawn into new districts lose anyway.  In the east, Louie Gohmert beats Max Sandlin 58-42, and Ted Poe beats Jim Turner 56-43.  Ralph Hall switches parties, leading to the demise of all East Texas rural Democrats except Nick Lampson, who wins easily in his Beaumont-Galveston seat.  The last Democrat to lose is Charlie Stenholm, 54-44 to Mike Conaway.  Chet Edwards holds on 53-45, while Tom DeLay wins only 51-45.  Martin Frost remains in office, meaning no Kenny Marchant.
2006: Not much is competitive here.  Henry Bonilla wins 51-49, unlike his loss in reality.
2008: In the old DeLay district from the 1990s, Nick Lampson beats Pete Olson 49-48.  But in this alternate reality, Lampson is already in office in his old seat.  So I’d say it’s a Tossup if another Democrat beats Olson or whether Lampson had unique strength.  It’s also unknown if Henry Bonilla could win in a year with higher Hispanic turnout than in 2006.  The final unknown is whether Pete Sessions loses.  Against a Some Dude, he won 51-47 so I’m going to say yes he does.
2010: There are fewer unknowns here.  A cycle after winning by 11, Chet Edwards loses by 21.  Quico Canseco wins 54-40 if a Democrat is in the seat, otherwise Bonilla still has it.  Blake Farenthold narrowly beats Solomon Ortiz.  Sessions’s seat is won back by the GOP.  Lampson is the only question mark; is he strong enough to have held on in 2010 in the old district?
2012: Quico Canseco wins 49-47, defeating Pete Gallego.  Filemon Vela takes back Farenthold’s seat.  Pete Sessions or his successor loses again.  In reality in the district, Sessions won by 2 against a nobody.  Finally, four congressmen don’t make it to office: Roger Williams, Blake Farenthold (his new seat doesn’t exist and Vela beats him), Steve Stockman, and Mark Veasey.  Lampson stays in office, defeating Randy Weber.  
Score: R+4.5

New York:  Here is a map of Downstate, followed by Upstate.  
At the start of the decade, Democrats held every New York City seat except Staten Island, one suburban seat (Nita Lowey), two Long Island seats (Steve Israel, picked up in 2000, and Carolyn McCarthy), Maurice Hinchey’s Ithaca to Woodstock seat, Mike McNulty’s Albany seat, Louise Slaughter’s Rochester seat, and John LaFalce, who held a seat from Rochester to Niagara.  2000 saw, as said earlier, Israel’s pickup of Rick Lazio’s seat, but no races including that one were within single digits.
2002 saw two seats eliminated, one from each party.  John LaFalce lost his, and moderate Republican Ben Gilman retired after over three decades from his Rockland County-Middletown seat.  In terms of competitive races, there was only one.  Tim Bishop made Republican Felix Grucci one of the only incumbents to lose his seat in 2002, 51-48 on the east end of Long Island.  
2004: Republicans Jack Quinn in Buffalo and Amo Houghton in the Southern Tier both retired.  Quinn’s seat was taken by a Democrat, while Houghton’s was held by Randy Kuhl 51-41.
2006: Here’s where things get interesting, as the wave hit even the moderate Republicans in historically GOP Upstate New York.  To begin with, I’m assuming Gilman (sitting in a D+5 or so seat) either is defeated or retires due to age.  In terms of Democratic pickups, Mike Arcuri takes the Utica seat 52-47, John Hall takes the Poughkeepsie seat 55-45, Kirsten Gillibrand takes the eastern upstate seat 54-46, and Dan Maffei beats Jim Walsh in this bluer Syracuse seat, 52-48.  Three other vulnerable Republicans hold their seat.  Firstly, Randy Kuhl holds on 52-48.  Secondly, Tom Reynolds keeps his western New York seat 54-46.  Finally, Peter King on Long Island only wins by six, which against a legitimate challenger is probably a tossup in my opinion.
2008: Mike McMahon easily takes the Staten Island seat, and shortly after the election Scott Murphy holds Gillibrand’s seat in a special election.  Eric Massa beats Kuhl 51-49, and finally, amazingly Mike Arcuri loses in 2008 of all years to Richard Hanna, 50-50.
2010: This is the year where everything went to hell for Democrats due to their holding so many purple to light blue seats upstate.  Of course, Hanna had already won in 2008 so there was less for Democrats to lose.  Eric Massa resigned and the GOP won his seat, Mike McMahon went down 51-48 to Michael Grimm, Chris Gibson beat Scott Murphy 54-46, and…well…that was it.  On the older map, this isn’t terribly bad.  Losing 3 seats in a 29 seat state in a wave isn’t horrible, although it’s certainly not good.  If one adds in Bob Turner’s special election victory that makes four, but that was clearly 2011.  Narrow Democratic holds are: Tim Bishop 51-49, Carolyn McCarthy 53-47, Maurice Hinchey 53-47 (in a vote sink!), Bill Owens 48-46, Dan Maffei 52-48, and John Hall 51-49. The latter two both lost in reality, but not here.
2012: Well, firstly Hinchey and Turner were not eliminated.  Most likely, Turner loses.  He’s no moderate and was basically holding a half-term rental.  Tim Bishop wins 53-47, Grimm wins 52-47, Owens 51-47, and Reed 54-46.  John Hall keeps fighting instead of Sean Patrick Maloney.  
Score: R+7.5

Illinois: Here is Chicagoland .  Here is the whole state.  

In 2002, Illinois adopted a kind of incumbent protection map, which helped preserve Republican suburban seats but also Lane Evans and Jerry Costello downstate.  David Phelps, a Blue Dog from the southeast of the state, was cut.  2000 had seen three competitive races.  Mark Kirk narrowly held the Lake County seat, 51-49 in his initial election.  Tim Johnson won 53-47 in east central Illinois, and Lane Evans won 55-45 in the Rock Island area.
2002: Obviously, Phelps survives.  Also of note, well…nothing. At all.
2004: The Illinois suburbs begin to turn a bit on the GOP.  Jerry Weller is held to a 53-47 margin in his LaSalle County to Joliet district, and Henry Hyde wins only 55-45 in his DuPage one.  But the big shocker, and in fact the biggest non-wave shocker of the decade besides PA-17 in 2002 perhaps, is Phil Crane losing to Melissa Bean in the red 8th district, directly west of Kirk’s seat.  Also, at this point I think Phelps is vulnerable the right Republican.  There aren’t really any Midwestern Blue Dogs in red seats as a comparison.  IN-8 is the only really similar one, as well as MN-7, but Peterson is super popular and the seat is less red.  I’d say his re-election in 2004 is a tossup.  If he wins, he survives until 2010.
2006: A few very close races here.  The less close ones are Phil Hare succeeding Evans 55-45 and Melissa Bean winning re-election 51-44.  Mark Kirk again survives 51-49.  Peter Roskam narrowly holds Hyde’s seat, 50-50 against Tammy Duckworth. But the big one is Jerry Weller losing 50-50 to John Pavich.
2008: Kirk again hangs on by the skin of his teeth, 50-50.  Judy Biggert is challenged for the first time, winning 53-44, and in a special election Bill Foster picks up Speaker Hastert’s old seat 52-48.
2010: Adam Kinzinger beats Pavich 52-48, Randy Hultgren beats Foster 52-44, and Bobby Schilling crushes Hare 55-41.  Those are the pickups.  Interestingly, Melissa Bean narrowly beats Joe Walsh with 48% of the vote, and Dan Seals succeeds Mark Kirk 51-49.
2012: Roskam, not vote sinked like in reality, wins 54-46.  Bean and Seals both triumph, although who knows by how much.  Adam Kinzinger wins 54-46 at best, the margin may have been closer but I don’t think he loses.  Bill Foster defeats Judy Biggert 51-49, and Bobby Schilling stays in office 52-48, proving his popularity in a pretty blue, non-suburban seat.  Finally, Don Manzullo isn’t eliminated, and Rodney Davis comes nowhere close to losing.
Score: R+1.5

Pennsylvania: This state has been home to one of the most brutal Republican gerrymanders, although the one last decade collapsed a bit.  Here is the 1990s map, both SEPA and the rest of the state.  

2000 saw three members of Congress face close calls.  Don Sherwood won 53-47 in his Northeast/Scranton seat, Pat Toomey won 53-47 in the Lehigh Valley, and Joe Hoeffel won 53-46 in the Philly suburbs.  Republicans responded by trying to make every member safe, but they overextended themselves.  On the old map, here’s what happens…
2002: In reality, two seats needed to be dropped, and both were Democrats: Bob Borski in Philadelphia and Frank Mascara in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I figure both survive until the next redistricting on the old map; Mascara’s seat got redder considering Altmire and Critz survived 2010 (Altmire in a redder seat) I’d say Mascara holds on too.  In other races, Paul Kanjorski survives 51-47 in a redder seat, and Joe Hoeffel wins only 50-49.  Bill Coyne retired in 2002 after his district was redrawn into a red seat for Tim Murphy, but that’s discarded here.  Finally, we have George Gekas instead of Jim Gerlach, because Tim Holden keeps his seat instead of moving to Gekas’s and defeating him, and Gerlach inherited the redrawn old Holden seat.
2004: Nothing is competitive.
2006: Democrats pick up three seats.  Jason Altmire beats Melissa Hart 53-47 in the Northern Pittsburgh area seat.  Chris Carney crushes Don Sherwood 59-41.  And Joe Sestak beats Curt Weldon 56-44 in Delaware County.  Other Republicans face close calls.  Phil English wins 52-44 in NW PA and Mike Fitzpatrick hangs on by less than 1% in Bucks County, defeating Patrick Murphy.  Finally, John Murtha, not given a gerrymandered seat like in real life, wins only 52-48 and I’d say has a 50-50 chance of losing against a better challenger.
2008: Kathy Dahlkemper knocks off English, 53-47, but Paul Kanjorski and John Murtha both lose, leading to Congressmen Barletta and Russell.  
2010: Republicans take back two more seats.  Mike Kelly beats Dahlkemper 54-46, while Pat Meehan wins Sestak’s seat 55-44.  Jason Altmire hangs on 52-48, and Chris Carney keeps his seat against Tom Marino 51-49 thanks to Scranton.  
2012: Altmire isn’t merged with the old Murtha seat, so he wins.  Carney continues to keep his seat, too.  Four races are close.  Mike Kelly wins by four and Lou Barletta are six, both against Some Dudes, so I’d say those are tossups.  Another tossup is Mascara’s old seat.  Battling lung cancer that would kill him in about a year, I’d guess he retires and the purple seat would be a real battleground.  Finally, Charlie Dent wins only 53-47.
Score: R+9.5

California:  The conventional wisdom about the California map is that it was an incumbent protection map which looked good at the time but was far too tame for a state that would move quickly leftward during the decade.  There is some truth to that, but it is far from absolute.  2000 had seen many close races featuring Democratic incumbents, that much is true.  Here are the 1990s court-drawn maps.      
2000 saw 7 close races.  In NorCal, Ellen Tauscher won 53-44, the last time a Bay Area district would be truly competitive.  Mike Honda also easily picked up Tom Campbell’s old Bay Area seat.  Cal Dooley won 52-46 in a district that looks a lot like David Valadao’s current district.  Lois Capps won 53-44 in a district nearly identical to her current one.  Adam Schiff also won 53-44 in an L.A. County seat that would soon be Safely Democratic.  Jane Harman won 48-47 in a less liberal version of Henry Waxman’s current seat.  Susan Davis won 50-46 in San Diego.  Finally, a lone Republican won a close race, Steve Horn by 1% in L.A. County; his district would shortly be dismantled.  But let’s assume this map held.
2002: The first thing to note is that Devin Nunes got California’s new seat in 2002.  So we remove him from the equation.  Beyond this, there are three close races.  Lois Capps wins 50-47 against a weak challenger, which by my formula means she actually loses.  You can see that she did actually need to be protected by the Democratic gerrymander.  Another Democrat who needed to be protected was Gary Condit, or rather his seat.  After retiring due to a major scandal involving an intern he slept with who turned up dead, Condit attempted to leave his seat to Dennis Cardoza.  It was successful in his bluer real district, but in the 1990s iteration, Republican Dick Monteith triumphs 52-43.  It’s not even close.  Finally, my guess is Steve Horn narrowly wins again, but it’s anybody’s guess if that’s the case or not.
2004: Monteith wins again, perhaps by single digits and perhaps by double.  Another Central Valley Democrat, Cal Dooley, retires.  Republicans pick up his seat on the old map, with Roy Ashburn winning 51-49.  This probably gets interesting later in the decade when he becomes the latest in a line of gay Republicans to be outed in the Larry Craig mold.  Lois Capps’s district would again be a Tossup, as would Steve Horn’s.  Finally, David Dreier loses!  The incumbent protection gerrymander really protect him throughout the 2000s, but he loses to Cynthia Matthews 49-48 on the old map, where his district is entirely in Los Angeles County.
2006: Roy Ashburn faces a tough re-election; it’s another tossup.  If a Republican holds the Capps seat after the 2004 election, they lose it here.  John Doolittle holds on up north 49-46, while Jerry McNerney beats Richard Pombo 56-44.  Finally, Steve Horn retires or loses in the Democratic wave.  Monteith and Matthews hold on.
2008: Instead of the net change of zero on the old map, Democrats pick up four to six seats here.  Republicans hanging on by a thread include Ken Calvert 51-49 in Riverside, Brian Bilbray 52-44 in North County San Diego, and Buck McKeon 54-46 (or closer) in Northern LA County.  There are two more tossups: Monteith might lose here due to the wave in an R+4 seat that got bluer over the decade, and if Roy Ashburn wins in 2006 he might lose here in a district that ended up about D+2 by 2008.  Democrats pick up Doolittle’s open seat, with Charlie Brown beating Tom McClintock 51-49.  Bill Durston also narrowly beats Dan Lungren by less than a percent.  Finally, in SoCal Elton Gallegly and Gary Miller both lose their seats in major surprises, assuming they face legitimate challengers.  
2010: The GOP snapback gives them anywhere from a 2 to 6 seat pickup.  Certainly Republicans retake CA-20 if they lost it in the first place; Vidak beat Jim Costa despite his incumbency advantage in this old district.  Charlie Brown is a clear goner, only having won because of McClintock’s weakness.  Capps’s district is once again vulnerable.  At this point it’s California’s Bloody Eighth, with Capps or her successor narrowly losing against a strong challenger.  Gary Miller’s old seat is a tossup, as is Elton Gallegly’s.  Dick Monteith or Tom Berryhill hold the Condit/Cardoza district.  In better news for Democrats, Cynthia Matthews and Bill Durston hold their seats, and Jerry McNerney wins 51-44.  However, in the special election to succeed Jane Harman, Craig Huey beats Janice Hahn 51-49.
2012: Huey loses his one-term rental seat.  Jerry McNerney and Ken Calvert both survive by single digits.  Democrats win back the Bloody 23rd.  Raul Ruiz beats Mary Bono Mack 53-47.  Finally Brian Bilbray holds off Scott Peters 55-45 in a much redder seat.
Score: D+5.  In the end, the map did help Democrats some, especially in the Central Valley.

Here is what the House breakdown looks like.
2002: 230R-205D
2004: 231R-204D (GOP +1)
2006: 241.5D-193.5R (Dem+37.5)
2008: 261.5D-173.5R (Dem+20)
2010: 237.5R-197.5R (GOP+64)
2012: 224R-211D (Dem+13.5)

In the end, it’s not that different, but Democrats have between 4 and 12 more seats every cycle from 2006 onward than they did in reality.

Finally, here are the scores for each state, so we can see in which states the 2000/2010 redistrictings had the most impact.
GA: D+11
PA: R+9.5
MI: R+9
MD: D+8.5
NY: R+7.5
NC: R+6
CA: D+5
TX/OH: R+4.5
CO/NJ: R+3
OK/AZ: D+3


Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:24 PM PST

2004 vs 2012: Florida and Georgia

by jncca

In the first part of this series, I explored the causes of Democratic trends in Colorado, North Carolina, and Virginia, three of the four swing states that have clearly gotten bluer in the past decade (along with Nevada, which I decided was too geographically boring to examine).

Using maps like those posted below, I looked at the raw numerical shift, rather than percentage shift, towards the Democrats in each state.

 photo Colorado_zps5397685e.jpg
 photo NorthCarolina_zps9cbbe80f.jpg

 photo Virginia_zps92caf928.jpg

Colorado exhibited more of a uniform trend; other than a couple counties, the map looks more like a population map of the state than anything partisan.  Virginia's was pretty uniform except for the Western part of the state, while North Carolina's way heavily based on race (Virginia's was too to some extent).  Let's explore three more states, all wholly or partially Southern, to examine their trends from 2004 to 2012 and see which patterns they most resemble.

I'll begin with Florida, an interesting state because like Pennsylvania it is a swing state with sizable areas trending both directions, on the whole mostly balancing out to keep it a point or two off of the national median.

 photo florida_zps6023df0d.jpg

As you can see, Florida is a quiltlike patchwork of color, without a real discernible pattern.  Let’s break it down to see what we can find.

1)    The North is the South.  Northern Florida, essentially the part of the state Newt Gingrich won in 2012, has the same voting behavior as the South.  Four of the six population centers in the region swung leftward due to their Black populations (Pensacola, Jacksonville, Gainesville, and Tallahassee, with Ocala and Panama City the odd ones out), along with heavily Black Gadsden County.  The two surprises on the map were Jefferson County (east of Tallahassee) and Okaloosa County (containing Fort Walton Beach). Jefferson County is a purple to light blue county with a large Black population, but the Blue Dogs abandoning the party made it red on this map anyway.  Okaloosa County is heavily White and beach areas (usually older than the nation as a whole) mostly swung rightward over this period, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.  
2)    As always, county size doesn’t equal county population.  The pale colored counties around Tallahassee had the largest swings rightward in the state; they were the base of Blue Dog congressman Allen Boyd and many of them voted for Alex Sink for Governor in 2010.  But even with those large swings, they are very light on this map because of how few voters they have. They’re not really significant in 29 electoral vote Florida.  
3)    Seniors matter a lot in Florida, and we can see their impact.  The darkest red counties on this map are Palm Beach, Sumter, St. John’s, Volusia, Citrus, Martin, and Collier.  All have large and growing retiree populations, as many coastal Southern areas do.  Sumter is home to The Villages, a massive retirement community.  
4)    Big cities, as they are everywhere, are getting better for Democrats.  Dade County (Miami), Orange County (Orlando), Hillsborough County (Tampa), and Duval County (Jacksonville), all had large swings towards the Democrats, as did Broward County, which does not have one large city but has a large minority population.
5)    Dade County deserves its own paragraph here.  Home to America’s largest Cuban population, as well as a wealthy White population (many Cubans, of course, are White too) and an inner-city Black community common to essentially every large city outside the West, it has historically been purple but steadily gotten bluer as the Cubans have strayed from their Republican roots and newer immigrants from other parts of Latin America have entered the voting pool.  In 2004, George Bush won Florida by 381,000 votes, losing Dade by 49,000.  In 2012, Barack Obama won Florida by 74,000 votes, winning Dade by 208,000!  A majority of Florida’s shift in the past eight years comes solely from Dade County!  It’s really quite incredible.  Orange County accounts for 28% of the shift, and Hillsborough accounts for 22%, both large as well (shifts rightward are negative numbers, so the numbers add up to 100% but adding up counties in a certain way can get you above 100%).
6)    Mid-size areas without a lot of retirees swung leftward too, which is somewhat more surprising.  Osceola County (Kissimmee) has a huge Puerto Rican population, so that’s not surprising.  Pinellas County (St. Petersburg plus suburbs) has always been balanced, and their swing wasn’t all that huge.  Seminole County (Orlando suburbs) and Polk County (Lakeland) are more troublesome for Republicans, as neither have large Black populations and both are still red counties.  St Lucie County (Port St. Lucie/Ft. Pierce), Lee County (Cape Coral), and Brevard County (Merritt Island/Palm Bay) all pretty much swung as much as the nation, but the demographics there would, I presume, be better for Republicans than what they actually achieved.  A few other areas saw almost no change from 2004: Sarasota County, Manatee County, Pasco County, Clay County, and the interior South Florida rural areas all showed this (another reason South Florida is different than the South is its few rural areas didn’t get more Republican).
7)    Conclusions: Old people liked Republicans, non-Whites liked Democrats.  No shock here, but yet still a lot to discuss.  Now on to Georgia.

Georgia is an interesting state.  Like the rest of the Deep South, it was blue until the Civil Rights Act and then went red federally, staying blue statewide until the 1990s, when it turned purple and finally red.  It did give former Governor Jimmy Carter a massive home-state effect (he won every county!) in 1976 and still supported him in 1980.  In the last 20 years, it has grown tremendously, with Sun Belt suburban growth similar to Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, or Los Angeles but also a steadily-increasing Black population and the South’s largest Hispanic population, excluding Texas.

 photo Georgia_zps00c18b5e.jpg

Let’s examine the map.

1)    The three black counties (on the map, not demographically) in the state are the three with the biggest shift leftward, mostly due to increased Black population growth but also increased turnout.  DeKalb County is to Georgia what Dade is to Florida.  Fully 60% of the state’s shift comes from this county.  Kerry won it by 127,000; Obama won it by 274,000.  Fulton and Gwinnett Counties are less important but still very significant; both had between two and three times the Democratic growth one would expect, rather than DeKalb’s 7.5 times.  Add in the relatively small Rockdale County, and Georgia’s other 100+ counties actually were more Republican in 2012 than in 2004.  It’s only those four counties that made the state bluer.
2)    There is a huge divide between the inner suburbs and the outer ones.  The inner counties (Fulton, DeKalb, and Clayton) had a 234,000 vote Democratic increase.  The inner ring suburban counties, with equal population, had a 127,000 vote Democratic increase.  The outer ring counties, with less population than either, had a 34,000 vote Republican increase.
3)    The Atlanta suburbs have a Northeast-Southwest divide.  This is hard to see on a normal election map, where most suburbs are red, but one can easily see it here.  Both sides are growing, but one is getting redder and one bluer.  Forsyth and Cherokee Counties had some of the biggest Republican gains in the country, increasing the GOP margin by 27,000 votes on their own.  
4)    North Georgia is unsurprisingly getting redder, uniformly with the exception of Dalton, a college town.  This isn’t too surprising, as it’s heavily White, similar to other parts of Appalachia.  But it’s easy to see here.  We saw this all over the country.
5)    South Georgia is a mixed bag.  There’s a clear correlation between heavily Black counties and Democratic gains; the blue counties are generally the better ones for Democrats, but there are many exceptions.  The population centers (Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Albany, Savannah, Valdosta, Lagrange and Warner Robbins) all got bluer.
6)    Compare the southern border of Georgia with the northern border of Florida.  The counties are pretty demographically similar, yet there is far more blue on this map.  I’m unsure why; perhaps vigorous Democratic campaigning in 2000 and 2004 in Florida kept those Blue Dogs in the fold longer than their counterparts in Georgia, so there was more ability for votes to swing?  I’d love the answer to this question.

So there you have it, two more states.  Make sure to answer the poll.


Would you like to see more in this series?

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I love maps, especially ones of election results.  They fascinate me, and in fact are the reason I started following politics around the 2004 presidential election.  However, too often they're just not very good.  The red/blue dichotomy tells us who won, but nothing else.  Even giving different shades of red or blue doesn't do enough, as not all land is created equal.  Most attempts to fix this problem involve distorting the shape of states or counties until they're hardly recognizable.  With that in mind, and with a question I wanted to answer, I set out to make maps of various states in order to understand how their voting patterns changed between 2004 and 2012 in a more serious manner than just looking at PVI shifts.  In doing so, I also wanted to see which pieces of conventional wisdom are or aren't true.  For example, the media has always said the Denver Suburbs were decisive in turning Colorado from red to purple, but is that true?  You can find that out and a whole bunch more below the fold.

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Sat May 11, 2013 at 04:29 PM PDT

Fair Map of Wisconsin

by jncca

I like this map because it's fair both in terms of respecting Wisconsin's purple-ness by creating lots of swing districts and because each district makes sense geographically and for the most part looks nice.

Here's the statewide view:
 photo wifull_zpsffdff303.jpg

Now, district-by-district.
WI-1: Paul Ryan (R)
 photo wi1_zps2d9687e1.jpg
2008 PVI (keep in mind Wisconsin was a point or two bluer in 2008 than in general): R+2
Rating: Lean R
Cities: Milwaukee's Suburbs (Oak Creek, Greenfield, South Milwaukee, Cudahy, St Francis, Muskego, Vernon, Franklin, Caledonia), plus Racine and Kenosha
This district fits nicely into the southeast corner of the state.  It takes in Racine and Kenosha, which are kept together under any fair map, and then goes north and west, taking in much of Walworth County and southern Milwaukee and Wauke$ha counties.  It does include both suburbs, small cities, and rural areas, as well as a few thousand residents of Milwaukee, but it almost has to be drawn this way.  I left of Ryan's hometown of Janesville, which doesn't really fit here.  

WI-2: Mark Pocan (D)
 photo wi2_zps9e978329.jpg
PVI: D+17
Rating: Safe D
Cities: Madison, Janesville, Beloit, Fitchburg, Oregon, Sun Prairie
A Madison-based district must be drawn, and I then moved outward to take in the parts of Southern Wisconsin neither Ryan nor Kind got in their districts.  Dane County is split, but otherwise the other districts can't be drawn as nicely.

WI-3: Ron Kind (D)
 photo wi3_zps2fe4e5f9.jpg
PVI: D+4
Rating: Likely D
Cities: La Crosse, Eau Claire
This mostly rural district is home to Ron Kind, who represents his rural district well by being a pretty reliable Dem vote who splits with the party on gun control.  The southern half of this district is getting bluer while the northern half is getting redder, so it should stay close to D+4.  

WI-4: Gwen Moore (D)
 photo wi4_zpsd9eb2e63.jpg
PVI: D+20
Rating: Safe D
Cities: Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, West Allis
This district is Milwaukee and some inner suburbs.  It almost has to be drawn this way.  It's majority-minority, a real rarity in the Upper Midwest.

WI-5: Jim Sensenbrenner (R)
 photo wi5_zpse12d1054.jpg
PVI: R+14
Rating: Safe R
Cities: Waukesha, West Bend, Mequon, Brookfield, New Berlin (all suburbs), Sheboygan
The Milwaukee area is split between Ryan, Moore, and Sensenbrenner, but there's a bit of population the latter still needs, so I drew him up to Sheboygan, an old manufacturing town.  He's safe and it looks pretty nice.

WI-6: Tom Petri (R)
 photo wi6_zps693fef73.jpg
Rating: Tilt R
"Cities": Fond du Lac, Watertown, Stevens Point
Longtime incumbent Petri gets a tough district, with about half of it new.  It's basically the central part of the state and is very rural.  I think incumbency would give him the edge but a wave year would send him out, and he might retire rather than face a tough race.

WI-7: Sean Duffy (R)
 photo wi7_zps7ac78752.jpg
PVI (bigger GOP trend here than other districts): D+1
Rating: Tilt R
"Cities": Superior, Wausau
This district is almost entirely rural, and it's ancestrally Dem.  A Northwoods district is a natural configuration and this is the result.  Like Petri, Duffy loses even in a small wave.  With time and the trend here, however, he could become a bit safer and make this Lean R rather than Tilt R.  

WI-8: Reid Ribble (R)
 photo wi8_zpsdf2349f3.jpg
PVI: D+1
Rating: Tilt R
Cities: Green Bay, Appleton, Oshkosh, Neenah, Manitowoc, De Pere
The Fox Valley district is both clean and a strong COI, with Manitowoc added for population.  

Basically, the result of a clean Wisconsin map is three Dem seats, two GOP seats, and three slightly GOP seats.  Only three seats are completely safe, and wave years in Wisconsin would be more exciting than ever.


Who would be the most vulnerable?

22%14 votes
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40%25 votes
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| 62 votes | Vote | Results

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California's redistricting commission was a grand experiment that, by and large, turned out to be successful.  However, I think there were some errors in the map, and I wanted to redraw the state.  Here were my goals, in order:
1) Respect the VRA's Sections 2 and 5, which I disapprove of but understand must be followed.
2) Keep metro areas together
3) Keep communities of interest together within metro areas
4) Keep cities together
5) Compactness

I did not look at political competitiveness, although I think it's something we should strive for.  And I ignored counties, which are not good approximations of communities of interest, although in California they are often drawn based along mountain ranges, which generally do separate communities of interest.  So, with that said, here we go!  I kept district numbers similar to the 2002-2012 district numbers, not the 2012-2022 numbers.

 photo NorCal_zps3979c994.jpg

1st: Mike Thompson (D)
 photo 1Thompson_zps393f733d.jpg
Positives: Rural Northern California, Napa Valley, Coast Range all kept together.  Bay Area not in district.
Negatives: Redding/Red Bluff don't belong
There is no good way to achieve population equity and draw this part of the state.  Either the coast goes with wealthy, suburban Marin County (like the commission drew) or it goes with non-wealthy but inland and conservative Redding and Red Bluff.  I chose the latter based on criteria #1 (keeping the Bay Area districts separate from the rest of the state), but neither works at all well.
Differences from 2012 Map: Major.  This district is split between Thompson, Huffman, and LaMalfa.
Cities: Redding, Napa, Eureka
PVI (2008): D+3
Rating: Lean D.  Thompson would have a Republican challenger and would likely win by between six and twelve points.  He has represented much of this area before, although not the inland parts, and while not really a moderate, he is in the Blue Dog coalition and has a C+ from the NRA rather than the F most California Democrats get.

4th: Tom McClintock (R)
 photo 4McClintock_zpsb14a4448.jpg
Positives: Non-Resort Sierra kept together, Outer Sacramento Suburbs united.
Negatives: Yuba County doesn’t fit, nor does Tehama; mix of suburban and rural.
Differences from 2012 Map: Vast.  Only keeps Sacramento Suburbs, but goes north instead of south.
PVI: R+11
Cities: Susanville, Grass Valley, Roseville, Rocklin, El Dorado Hills, Auburn, Placerville
Rating: Safe R.  McClintock can remain one of the most conservative members of the House here.

10th: John Garamendi (D) vs. Doug LaMalfa (R)
 photo 10GaramendiorLaMalfa_zps4077b3f9.jpg
Positives: COI.  All Central Valley.
Negatives: Excludes some of Yuba County as well as Fairfield in Solano County, both of which belong here.
Differences from 2012: Gains Butte County.  Loses some of Yuba and its portion of Lake, as well as Fairfield.
PVI: R+0.5
Cities: Chico, Paradise, Yuba City, Oroville, Woodland, Davis, Vacaville
Rating: Pure Tossup.  Both LaMalfa and Garamendi underperformed the top of the ticket in their districts.  If one estimates based off the presidential numbers, Garamendi wins in 2012, but LaMalfa didn’t face a tough race and Garamendi’s was at least on the radar.  Also interesting both have Italian last names.  Also of note: Obama underperformed an average Democrat here.  

Bay Area:
 photo BayArea_zpsba63de62.jpg

6th: Jared Huffman (D)
 photo 6Huffman_zps38b51be3.jpg
Positives: Near-perfect “North Bay” COI.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Large (see CD-1).
PVI: D+23
Cities: Santa Rosa, San Rafael, Rohnert Park, Petaluma, Sonoma, Mill Valley, Windsor
Rating: Safe D.  

7th: George Miller (D)
 photo 7Miller_zps6dba5b3c.jpg
Positives: Compact.
Negatives: Kind of a Bay Area “leftovers” district, as Fairfield doesn’t belong, nor does Rio Vista.
Differences from 2012: Very different.  Only keeps Pittsburg-Bay Point, Concord, and Pleasant Hill.
PVI: D+13
Cities: Concord, Fairfield, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Suisun City, Martinez, Benicia
Rating: Safe D.  This district is on the cusp of being majority-minority.

8th: Nancy Pelosi (D)
There’s really only one way to draw this district
PVI: D+33
City: San Francisco
Rating: Safe D.

9th: Barbara Lee (D)
 photo 9Lee_zpscd8d2f48.jpg
Positives: Community of interest of low-income areas along the Bay.
Negatives: Oakland is split.
Differences from 2012: Loses rest of Oakland, Alameda, San Leandro, and moves north.
PVI: D+34
Cities: Oakland, Vallejo, Berkeley, Richmond, American Canyon
Rating: Safe D.  Majority-minority.  A prime example of why counties should be ignored.  This is a great district in terms of community of interest but doesn’t look great and spans four counties.  I’d consider American Canyon Bay Area so I put it here instead of with Thompson.  Splitting Oakland was the only way to make this district work, and since I prefer COI to city integrity I split it.  Asians are the second-largest group here behind Whites.

12th: Jackie Speier (D)
 photo 12Speier_zpsc31d23b3.jpg
Positives: COI, compact.
Negatives: Woodside fits better with Eshoo’s district.
Differences from 2012: Adds Woodside, loses portion of Menlo Park.
PVI: D+21
Cities: Daly City, San Francisco, San Mateo, Redwood City, other San Francisco Suburbs.
Rating: Safe D.  Majority-minority; Asians second (includes many Filipinos)

13th: Pete Stark (D)
 photo 13Stark_zps6dfb5a80.jpg
Positives: Clear COI (880 corridor of Alameda County)
Negatives: Fremont, Oakland are split.
Differences from 2012: Loses Castro Valley, San Ramon, Eastern Alameda County.  Gains Oakland, Alameda, San Leandro.
Cities: Oakland, Hayward, Alameda, San Leandro, Newark, Fremont, Union City
PVI: D+28
Rating: Safe D.  Unfortunately, Eric Swalwell would never have run.  That means Pete Stark would still be in office and likely retiring to make way for Ellen Corbett or Ro Khanna.  This seat is only 24% White, with Hispanics and Asians both outnumbering Whites.  It is 15% of four different races, making it one of the most diverse districts in the nation.

14th: Anna Eshoo (D)
 photo 14Eshoo_zpsdfb8c807.jpg
Positives: Silicon Valley COI, mostly wealthy.
Negatives: Mountain View and East Palo Alto are less wealthy but still placed here.
Differences from 2012: Loses rural Santa Cruz, Woodside.  Gains some San Jose.
Cities: San Jose, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Cupertino, Menlo Park, Los Gatos, Campbell, Saratoga, Los Altos
PVI: D+18
Rating: Safe D.  

15th: Mike Honda (D)
 photo 15Honda_zps9989e4e7.jpg
Positives: Another Silicon Valley COI. Heavily Asian (although not majority, 47%)
Negatives: Ugly.  Fremont split.
Differences from 2012: Loses Newark, some Fremont, Cupertino.  Gains some San Jose.
Cities: San Jose, Fremont, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Milpitas
PVI: D+18
Rating: Safe D.

16th: Zoe Lofgren (D)
 photo 16Lofgren_zpse8ba5a4b.jpg
Positives: Compact.
Negatives: Everywhere besides San Jose doesn’t really fit.
Differences from 2012: Loses some San Jose and adds areas outside Santa Clara County.
Cities: San Jose, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Corralitos
PVI: D+16
Rating: Safe D. Only 32% White; plurality Hispanic.

17th: Sam Farr (D)
 photo 17Farr_zps66daf520.jpg
Positives: Not ugly.
Negatives: Mix of wealthy White and poor Hispanic areas (but been this way for decades).
Differences from 2012: Adds some Santa Cruz County and loses other parts.
Cities: Salinas, Santa Cruz, Hollister, Monterey, Watsonville.
PVI: D+20
Rating: Safe D.  Majority-minority.

Central Valley North:
 photo CentralValleyNorth_zpsb669c5ba.jpg

11th: Jerry McNerney (D)
 photo 11McNerney_zps2935e144.jpg
Positives: Pretty compact, more or less all-Bay Area.  Mostly high-income areas.
Negatives: Tracy is only half Bay Area and Lathrop is Central Valley.  Castro Valley isn’t high-income but had to go here for population purposes.
Differences from 2012: This is really a new district from anything done by the commission.
PVI: D+10
Cities: Walnut Creek, Livermore, Tracy, Dublin, Plesanton, Danville, San Ramon, LaMOrinda, Castro Valley, El Cerrito.
Rating: Safe D.  Jerry Brown got 56% so I don’t think any Republican could win it even in a wave.

5th: Doris Matsui (D)
 photo 5Matsui_zpsabf811ee.jpg
Positives: Sacramento and inner suburbs COI.  West Sacramento with Sacramento rather than Yolo.
Negatives: Elk Grove split.
Differences from 2012: Adds Florin, some of Elk Grove.  Loses Antelope, North Highlands, Foothill Farms
PVI: D+17
Cities: Sacramento, West Sacramento, Florin, Elk Grove, Parkway
Rating: Safe D.  Majority-minority (over 12% for all four)

3rd: Ami Bera (D)
 photo 3Bera_zps45587711.jpg
Positives: Sacramento Suburbs COI.
Negatives: Elk Grove split.
Differences from 2012: See 5th district.
PVI: R+2 (remember, 2008 numbers)
Cities: Rancho Cordova, Folsom, Carmichael, Elk Grove, Foothill Farms, North Highlands, Antelope, Citrus Heights, Orangevale, Fair Oaks, Arden-Arcade.
Rating: Tilt D.  Ami Bera would have won this, but more narrowly than he did in actuality.  It’s a point or so redder.  He’d be a favorite for re-election but it could certainly go Republican.

2nd: Ricky Gill (R) or ? (D)
 photo 2GillorDemocrat_zps78bc253a.jpg
Positives: Stockton area kept together, not combined with Bay Area.
Negatives: Some of Sierra Foothills put here.
Differences from 2012: Loses some Lathrop, Eastern Contra Costa.  Adds some Amador and Calaveras, plus Manteca and some small towns.
PVI: R+2 (EVEN estimated for 2012)
Cities: Stockton, Manteca, Lodi, Galt, Oakdale
Rating: Tossup.  Ricky Gill did well, but it may have been that McNerney, as a Bay Area resident, was weak in this Valley district.  There’s really no way to know who’d have won this.  Majority-minority, so Gill would be working against the demographics in this 33% Hispanic VAP district.

18th: Jeff Denham (R) or Jose Hernandez (D)
 photo 18DenhamCardozaorotherDemocrat_zps62cf30e3.jpg
Positives: Incredibly nice looking and good COI.
Negatives: None. Remind me why this wasn’t drawn again?
Differences from 2012: Adds Merced County, loses Tracy, Manteca, Ripon, and small towns.
PVI: EVEN (D+1 estimated for 2012)
Cities: Modesto, Merced, Turlock, Atwater, Los Banos, Patterson
Rating: Tilt R.  Democrats were boosted 2%, which leads to a 1.5% Denham victory here.  The district would definitely be ripe for the picking in 2014 or 2016 though.  It’s only 46% White.  

Southern Valley and Central Coast:
 photo SanJoaquinValley_zps46b3ce2c.jpg

21st: Devin Nunes (R)
 photo 21Nunes_zpscfe8e567.jpg
Positives: Ski resort/mountain vacation areas kept together.
Negatives: Ski resort/mountain vacation areas had to be combined with Central Valley.
Differences from 2012: Adds mountains, loses Clovis, Reedley, Orange Cove, Lindsay.
PVI: R+8
Cities: Visalia, Madera, Tulare, South Lake Tahoe, Truckee
Rating: Safe R.  This one should hold the whole decade, but might be competitive close to 2020.

23rd: Lois Capps (D)
 photo 23Capps_zps390484fe.jpg
Positives: COI is perfect.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Very minimal.
PVI: D+4
Cities: Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Lompoc, Isla Vista/Goleta
Rating: Likely D.  Jerry Brown narrowly won it.  Lean D when open.

19th: Jim Costa (D) vs ? (R)
 photo 19CostaorRepublican_zps9fb22904.jpg
Positives: Fresno area kept whole.
Negatives: Weird arm (although small in population).
Differences from 2012: Loses Merced County, most of Madera.  Adds Clovis, rest of Fresno, arm.  Majority new district.
PVI: R+2, leftward shift.
Cities: Fresno, Clovis
Rating: Tossup.  Costa is pretty moderate and has sometimes overperformed, but sometimes he’s underperformed and is a lazy campaigner.  We also don’t know if a stronger Republican would have run.  Given all that and the district’s PVI, it’s a tossup.  Majority-minority and almost plurality Hispanic.

20th: David Valadao (R)
 photo 20Valadao_zps894cf5db.jpg
Positives: VRA district without entering Fresno.
Negatives: VRA district means it’s ugly.  Splits Bakersfield.
Differences from 2012: Loses SW Tulare.  Gains a bit more of Bakersfield.  
PVI: D+1, heavy leftward shift.
Cities: Bakersfield, Delano, Hanford, Corcoran, Arvin, Lamont, Shafter, Wasco, Selma, Reedley, Lemoore
Rating: Safe R in 2012 due to Dem recruitment failure, but Tilt D in 2014, Lean D in 2016 and beyond.  The district is 66% Hispanic VAP so it should continue to move leftward as young Hispanics replace older Whites in the voting pool.  Valadao’s days are numbered.

22nd: Kevin McCarthy (R)
 photo 22McCarthy_zps59bd9bce.jpg
Positives: Good community of interest.  Goes to San Bernardino County rather than splitting Lancaster.
Negatives: Ugly due to VRA.  
Differences from 2012: Loses Eastern Tulare, gaining SW Tulare.  Loses portion of Lancaster and expands to Barstow.
PVI: R+17
Cities: Bakersfield, Oildale, Porterville, Taft, Barstow, Ridgecrest
Rating: Safe R for the entire decade, but it is only 54% White.

24th: Julia Brownley (D)
 photo 24Brownley_zpsc7e4dc80.jpg
Positives: Nearly all within Ventura County.
Negatives: Couldn’t take in Simi Valley.
Differences from 2012: Minimal.
PVI: D+4
Cities: Ventura, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Port Hueneme, Moorpark, Santa Paula
Rating: Lean D.  I don’t think this district is going to get redder, so Brownley should be good here.

 photo SoCal_zps6e151495.jpg

25th: Buck McKeon (R) vs. Brad Sherman (D) vs. Howard Berman (D)
 photo 25McKeonorShermanorBerman_zps97f998c2.jpg
Positives: Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, and the NW Valley are a pretty good COI.
Negatives: A couple large but very low populated precincts make this district uglier than necessary.
Differences from 2012: Major.  McKeon’s district is basically split in two, with Santa Clarita and Simi Valley going here.
PVI: EVEN (possibly R+1 in 2012)
Cities: Los Angeles, Santa Clarita, Simi Valley
Rating: Tossup.  This would be incredibly fun to watch if all three had run.  Three incumbents in one race has probably never happened before, and they’re all longtime incumbents, with Sherman and McKeon having the territory advantages but Berman and McKeon having seniority.

26th: Bob Dutton (R) vs. Pete Aguilar (D)
 photo 26DuttonorAguilar_zps29655b33.jpg
Positives/Negatives: District has to be drawn similar to this due to VRA district.
Differences from 2012: Adds Claremont, Montclair, mountains.  Loses Rialto, some San Bernardino, Colton, Grand Terrace.  
PVI: R+1
Cities: Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, San Bernardino, Redlands, Claremont, Montclair, Highland.
Rating: Tossup.  With no Gary Miller here, Aguilar makes Top Two, and Obama definitely won this district.  But we already know Aguilar was weak; would he have underperformed Obama by enough to lose?  In this 44% White district, however, Dutton’s term would be pretty short even if he won.  Jerry Brown got 49% here.

27th: George Runner (R)
 photo 27Runner_zpsca0a46e3.jpg
Positives: Antelope Valley kept together.
Negatives: About 15,000 people should be here but wouldn’t fit.  But near-perfect district IMO.  The commission definitely should have drawn this.
Differences from 2012: Major.  This is half McKeon half Cook.
PVI: R+4 (R+2 in 2012)
Cities: Lancaster, Palmdale, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Adelanto, Victorville
Rating: Lean R.  George Runner was the state senator for much of this area and is very popular, so despite this district’s demographics (41% White) and trend (big leftward shift in 2012), he’d have won.  However, there’s a chance a fluke could have occurred, like how Steve Fox won the Assembly seat containing much of this area.  This area is diversifying and trending leftward quickly, which bodes poorly for Runner in the future.  

28th: Tony Cardenas (D)
 photo 28Cardenas_zpsbf8e022f.jpg
Positives: VRA district, compact, COI.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Minor.
PVI: D+20
Cities: Los Angeles, San Fernando
Rating: Safe D.

29th: Adam Schiff (D)
 photo 29Schiff_zps9b01c275.jpg
Positives: Strong community of interest.
Negatives: A 400 person large precinct makes the district ugly when it should look nice.
Differences from 2012: Gains Altadena, Beverly Hills. Trades portions of Los Angeles.
PVI: D+19
Cities: Los Angeles, Glendale, Burbank, La Canada Flintridge, Altadena, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, La Crescenta
Rating: Safe D.

30th: Henry Waxman (D)
 photo 30Waxman_zps4ac54999.jpg
Positives: Nice-looking, almost entirely wealthy areas in West LA County.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Large.  Loses arm along coast, Beverly Hills.  Gains some of the Valley.
PVI: D+17
Cities: Los Angeles, Calabasas, Malibu, Agoura Hills.
Rating: Safe D.

31st: Xavier Becerra (D)
 photo 31Becerra_zps115f82c0.jpg
Positives: Compact, all LA
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Different parts of LA
PVI: D+30
Cities: Los Angeles.
Rating: Safe D.

32nd: Judy Chu (D)
 photo 32Chu_zps3e76c467.jpg
Positives: Keeps Asian areas together, Los Angeles only split city.
Negatives: Arm into LA semi-ugly, but necessary to keep Asian population high.
Differences from 2012: Loses Claremont, Glendora, some of Upland. Gains some of Los Angeles.
PVI: D+14
Cities: Los Angeles, Pasadena, Alhambra, Arcadia, Temple City, San Marino, San Gabriel, Rosemead
Rating: Safe D.  The district is 42% Asian, a sizeable plurality.

33rd: Karen Bass (D)
 photo 33Bass_zps826c9f5e.jpg
Positives: Keeps heavily Black areas together without making it ugly.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Loses some of West LA, expands into Inglewood, Westmont, Watts.
PVI: D+40
Cities: Los Angeles, Inglewood, Culver City, View Park, Westmont, Lennox
Rating: Safe D.  Despite trying to make this as Black as I could within reason, it’s only 40%.  Shows how Hispanic most of California’s inner-city areas have become.

34th: Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)
 photo 34RoybalAllard_zps00062472.jpg
Positives: Hispanic areas of East LA.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Adds some of South Gate, Los Angeles, Montebello.  Loses some of Los Angeles, Downey, Paramount.
PVI: D+30
Cities: Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Montebello, Huntington Park, Bell Gardens
Rating: Safe D.  The most Hispanic district in the country?  It’s here or South Texas.  90%.

35th: Maxine Waters (D)
 photo 35Waters_zpsd8373130.jpg
Positives: Compact COI.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Loses Inglewood, Westmont, Torrance, some Los Angeles.  Gains Compton, Lynwood, Paramount, Carson.
PVI: D+28
Cities: Compton, Carson, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Lynwood, East Compton, Los Angeles
Rating: Safe D, but interesting primary.  The district is 21% Black and 56% Hispanic, so Waters could definitely be defeated by a Hispanic politician without ethics issues.  Alternatively, she could run against Bass in the 33rd.  Bass is clean but the “old guard” of often corrupt Black politicians seem to do much better than they should among Black voters.

36th: Janice Hahn (D)
 photo 36Hahn_zps42830def.jpg
Positives: COI of wealthy coastal areas.
Negatives: Narrow, so somewhat ugly.
Differences from 2012: Major. This takes a lot of Waxman’s district which was given to him from Hahn in redistricting and gives it back to her.  Santa Monica, El Segundo, the Beach Cities, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula are all added, plus Torrance which went to Waters and some of Los Angeles.  On the other hand, it loses EVERYTHING from her 2012 district, which was mostly new to her in the first place.
PVI: D+11
Cities: Santa Monica, Torrance, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, El Segundo, Palos Verdes Peninsula
Rating: Safe D.

37th: Laura Richardson (D) vs. Alan Lowenthal (D)
 photo 37RichardsonorLowenthal_zps603433b0.jpg
Positives: Long Beach area kept together.
Negatives: Laura Richardson might still be in office.
Differences from 2012: Major.  This combines the west of Lowenthal’s new district with the south of Richardson’s.
PVI: D+15
Cities: Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Hawaiian Gardens
Rating: Safe D.  The district is only 11% Black, so Richardson doesn’t have much of a base here.  But since it’s the only nearby district with no incumbent, it’s where she would run, and probably lose to State Senator Lowenthal.  

38th: Grace Napolitano (D)
 photo 38Napolitano_zps95101880.jpg
Positives: Compact VRA district in San Gabriel Valley.
Negatives: Sierra Madre awkwardly tacked on; splits of Pico Rivera and Whittier.
Differences from 2012: Adds Monrovia, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, some Pico Rivera/Whittier.  Loses San Dimas, La Verne.
PVI: D+14
Cities: El Monte, West Covina, Covina, Azusa, South El Monte, Baldwin Park, Monrovia.
Rating: Safe D.  Asians actually outnumber Whites here.

39th: Linda Sanchez (D)
 photo 39Sanchez_zpscf76a12b.jpg
Positives: Compact.
Negatives: A few city splits; has to enter Orange County.
Differences from 2012: Loses Montebello, Whittier, South El Monte, Lakewood, La Palma, Hawaiian Gardens  Adds Bellflower, Buena Park, Fullerton.
PVI: D+9
Cities: Norwalk, Downey, Bellflower, Fullerton, Pico Rivera, Cerritos, Artesia, La Mirada, Buena Park, Santa Fe Springs.

40th: Ed Royce (R)
 photo 40Royce_zps7beb31c1.jpg
Positives: All Orange County wealthy areas.
Negatives: Irvine doesn’t quite belong (but not a terrible fit either).
Differences from 2012: Mostly new.  Only keeps Brea, Placentia, Yorba Linda, and some of Anaheim and Fullerton.
PVI: R+7
Cities: Irvine, Tustin, Orange, Fullerton, Yorba Linda, Brea, Anaheim, Placentia, North Tustin
Rating: Safe R.  At 52% White, it will probably trend left with time but I think Royce will probably hold out, especially with the lack of Dem bench here.  Sharon Quirk-Silva vs. Ed Royce in 2020 or so could be interesting, though.

41st: ? (R) vs. ? (D).  The only legislator who lives here is St. Sen. Bill Emmerson, who is nearly 70.
 photo 41CookorDemocrat_zpsadb562bb.jpg
Positives: Eastern Inland Empire seat.  Compact and similar communities.
Negatives: Splits Redlands.
Differences from 2012:  It’s a whole new seat.  Technically it’s the replacement to Jerry Lewis’s old seat (which became Paul Cook’s).  
PVI: R+3 (in 2008.  The district is majority-minority so it’s closer to R+1 now).
Cities: Moreno Valley, Yucaipa, San Jacinto, Perris, Banning, Beaumont, Hemet
Rating: Tossup.  There isn’t a strong bench on either side here, and Obama probably won this.

42nd: Gary Miller (R) vs. St Rep. Norma Torres (D)
 photo 42MillerorDemocrat_zps2751b7bd.jpg
Positives/Negatives: While it’s a “leftovers” district, is isn’t horribly ugly or horrible COI.
Differences from 2012: Lots.  Very new district.
PVI: EVEN in 2008.
Cities: Chino, Chino Hills, Walnut, Pomona, San Dimas, Glendora, La Verne, Diamond Bar, La Habra, Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights
Rating: Tilt Dem.  Miller’s an ethically challenged conservative in an Obama district.  I’m assuming Torres runs, as she’s the only person who represents a substantial portion of the district in the Assembly and is a Democrat.  The district would also be half new to Miller, which doesn’t help him.

43rd: Joe Baca (D) vs. Gloria Negrete McLeod (D)
 photo 43NegreteMcLeod_zpse983c495.jpg
Positives: VRA district in San Bernardino County.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Loses Pomona, Chino, Montclair.  Gains San Bernardino, Colton.
PVI: D+15
Cities: San Bernardino, Ontario, Fontana, Rialto, Colton, Bloomington, Grand Terrace.
Rating: Safe Dem. However, Baca vs. McLeod would be interesting.  If the main difference was geographical, Baca probably wins.  However, if the main difference was ideological, McLeod probably still wins this.  The district being almost identical to Baca’s old one can’t hurt him, though.  I’ll call it a Tossup for the Top Two, assuming both make it.  It’s also possible McLeod runs against Torres for the right to face Miller in the 42nd district but I’d consider that less likely.

44th: Ken Calvert (R) vs. Mark Takano (D)
 photo 44CalvertorTakano_zps2a848da4.jpg
Positives: Compact, Riverside and inner suburbs.
Negatives: None. This is the epitome of a perfect district.
Differences from 2012: New district, splitting both Takano and Calvert’s districts in two.
Cities: Riverside, Corona, Norco, Eastvale, Jurupa Valley, Rubidoux, Highgrove, Mira Loma, Woodcrest
Rating: Tossup.  Like LaMalfa/Garamendi, this race features a Republican who didn’t have to campaign against a Democrat who did.  Therefore, we can’t extrapolate their numbers.

45th: Mary Bono Mack (R) vs. Raul Ruiz (D)
 photo 45Ruiz_zpse66cdab3.jpg
Positives: All-desert.
Negatives: No room for Barstow.
Differences from 2012: Loses Hemet, Beaumont, San Jacinto.  Gains Imperial County, rural San Bernardino County, Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms.
PVI: D+2
Cities: Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Coachella, Indio, Yucca Valley, Twentynine Palms, El Centro, Brawley
Rating: Lean D.  Jerry Brown won this, it’s majority-minority, and it already has a D+ PVI.  The only difference here would be that Ruiz would’ve been considered the frontrunner the entire cycle.

46th: Dana Rohrabacher (R)
 photo 46Rohrabacher_zpsc431501a.jpg
Positives: Compact, contains most of “Little Saigon,” middle-class and wealthy Orange County suburbs.
Negatives: Garden Grove is split.
Differences from 2012: Gains Los Alamitos, Cypress, La Palma, Garden Grove, Westminster.  Loses Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo.
PVI: R+7
Cities: Huntington Beach, Westminster, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Cypress, Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, La Palma
Rating: Safe R.  Almost majority-minority, so that could cause problems down the line, especially if Asians continue to vote 70% D.  It was probably closer to R+5 this cycle.  For now it’s Safe, but by 2020 I’m not so sure.

47th: Loretta Sanchez (D)
 photo 47Sanchez_zps7ba7bc6b.jpg
Positives: Clear COI of central, more inner city Orange County.  Clean.  VRA district.
Negatives: Split of Garden Grove.
Differences from 2012: Adds Stanton, more Garden Grove loses its portion of Orange.
PVI: D+7
Cities: Santa Ana, Anaheim, Garden Grove, Stanton
Rating: Safe D.  This one rocketed leftward in 2012, at only 18% White.  

48th: John Campbell (R)
 photo 48Campbell_zpsa7b9d51d.jpg
Positives: Compact and a perfect COI: very wealthy Orange County communities.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Loses half of Irvine, Tustin, North Tustin, Villa Park, some Orange.  Adds the rest of South County (Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Clemente, etc.)
PVI: R+8 (but moved rightward in 2012)
Cities: Newport Beach, Irvine, Lake Forest, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Dana Point, the Lagunas, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Coto de Caza, Rancho Santa Margarita, Ladera Ranch
Rating: Safe R.  I think this might be the third safest Republican district in the state.

49th: Darrell Issa (R)
 photo 49Issa_zps67de5df4.jpg
Positives: Wealthy North County coastal district
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Loses Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano.  Gains some San Diego.  
PVI: R+1 (moved slightly right in 2012)
Cities: San Diego, Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Del Mar
Rating: Lean R.  It could be Tilt but this area is heavily ancestrally R downballot and Issa is super-wealthy (although also controversial).  I’d be curious whether Obama won this or not; it’d be very close either way.  

50th: Kevin Jeffries (R)
 photo 50Jeffries_zpsa771ed82.jpg
Positives: South County Riverside and Inland San Diego aren’t that different.
Negatives: Kind of ugly.  It’s more a question of what is San Diego best combined with: Imperial, Orange, or Riverside?  And I think the answer is Riverside.
Differences from 2012: Huge.  This is a whole new district (replacing Bilbray/Peters, neither of whom have anywhere to run under this map).
PVI: R+11
Cities: Escondido, San Marcos, Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, Fallbrook, Wildomar, Canyon Lake, San Diego.
Rating: Safe R.  The Hispanic population (30%) is decent-sized, but it should stay Republican all decade.

51st: Juan Vargas (D)
 photo 51Vargas_zps6424bb11.jpg
Positives: Hispanic San Diego seat, compact.
Negatives: Coronado doesn’t fit but added to make it look nicer.
Differences from 2012: Loses Imperial, gains some areas in eastern San Diego.
PVI: D+11
Cities: San Diego, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, Coronado.
Rating: Safe D.  This district is no longer Hispanic-majority, but I consider the arm to Imperial not necessary under the VRA (similar to the Cleveland-Akron district in Ohio), and the Supreme Court in its current iteration would probably agree, so Hispanic groups wouldn’t sue.  Anyway, Vargas stays in office and the Dem primary is definitely majority-Hispanic, since the district is 54% VAP.

52nd: Duncan Hunter, Jr. (R)
 photo 52Hunter_zpsd6459b82.jpg
Positives: East County San Diego united (the areas in the North are very rural).
Negatives: Has to leave San Diego County, slightly enter Escondido.
Differences from 2012: Adds La Mesa, some San Diego, Lemon Grove, Poway.  Loses Escondido, San Marcos, Temecula.
PVI: R+8
Cities: Poway, San Diego, El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego, Santee, Lakeside, Jamul, Alpine
Rating: Safe R.

53rd: Susan Davis (D)
 photo 53Davis_zpsf06fe2bd.jpg
Positives: Central San Diego.
Negatives: None.
Differences from 2012: Significant. Loses all East suburbs, gains much more of the city that was with Peters/Bilbray.
PVI: D+9
Cities: San Diego
Rating: Safe D.
So, with the map finally complete, let’s look at what’s different.

In Office In Reality, Not Under This Map:
Scott Peters (D); replaced by Kevin Jeffries (R)
Eric Swalwell (D); replaced by Pete Stark (D)
Gary Miller (R); replaced by Norma Torres (D)
Paul Cook (R); replaced by ? (D or R)

Incumbent on Incumbent:
Buck McKeon (R) vs. Brad Sherman (D) and Howard Berman (D); new seats to George Runner (R) and Tony Cardenas (D)
Doug LaMalfa (R) vs. John Garamendi (D); new seat to Ricky Gill (R) or Democrat
Mark Takano (D) vs. Ken Calvert (R); new seat to Bob Dutton (R) or Pete Aguilar (D)

Incumbents Maybe Gone:
Gloria Negrete McLeod (D); replaced by Joe Baca (R)
Jim Costa (D); replaced by Republican

The count by my ratings are:
8 Safe Republican
2 Lean Republican: George Runner’s Open Seat and Darrell Issa
1 Tilt Republican (Tilt means Tossup but we can calculate or estimate who won in 2012): Jeff Denham
7 Pure Tossup
2 Tilt Democrat: Ami Bera and Gary Miller/Norma Torres
3 Lean Democrat: Julia Brownley, Raul Ruiz, and Mike Thompson
29 Safe Democrat
1 David Valadao

The count in reality is:
10 Safe Republican
3 Lean Republican: Buck McKeon, Jeff Denham, and Darrell Issa
0 Tilt Republican
0 Pure Tossup
3 Tilt Democrat: Raul Ruiz, Ami Bera, and Scott Peters
4 Lean Democrat: John Garamendi, Julia Brownley, Jerry McNerney, and Gary Miller Fluke Seat
32 Safe Democrat
1 David Valadao

Commission: 10 Republican, 10 Tossup, 32 Democrat, 1 Valadao
My Map: 13 Republican, 3 Tossup, 36 Democrat, 1 Valadao

And I didn’t even try to emphasize competitiveness!
Please comment with your thoughts; I spent a long time on this!


Orange County is one of the few counties in America that conjures up a stereotype almost anywhere in the country.  To some, it's beautiful beaches.  To others, it's the heart of Cold War-era conservatism.  To others, it's California's newest melting pot.  And to optimistic Democrats, it's a potential 2014 win for Governor Jerry Brown's re-election.  

In this diary, I will explore the individual towns and cities that make up Orange County, demographically and politically.  I am by no means an expert on the county, having only been to a few parts of it and even then it was middle school or earlier, so if I make a mistake feel free to correct me.  

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Region 1: Multi-ethnic North County 339K
Potential for Democrats: Incredibly high.

La Habra 60K
2010 Demographics: 57% Hispanic, 26% White, 9% Asian
2000 Demographics: 49% Hispanic, 38% White, 6% Asian
2012 PVI: R+1.5
2008 PVI: R+4
2004 PVI: R+7
At 42% renters, this is not the wealthy part of Orange County.  A pretty middle-class area, it is increasing in Hispanic and Asian populations and becoming bluer.  

La Palma 15K
2010 Demographics: 48% Asian, 26% White, 16% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 45% Asian, 36% White, 10% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+1.5
2008 PVI: R+4
2004 PVI: R+6.5
Nearly identical politically to La Habra but more Asian and less Hispanic.  Also about 4x smaller in terms of population.

Fullerton 135K
2010 Demographics: 38% White, 34% Hispanic, 23% Asian
2000 Demographics: No info.
2012 PVI: R+2.5
2008 PVI: R+4.5
2004 PVI: R+8
Fullerton is the largest of the diversifying North County communities, and is home to Cal St Fullerton.  It was still narrowly won by Romney, unlike most of the other towns in this region.

Buena Park 81K
2010 Demographics: 39% Hispanic, 27% Asian, 23% White
2000 Demographics: No info.
2012 PVI: D+3.5
2008 PVI: D+1
2004 PVI: R+4
Buena Park is the home of Knott's Berry Farm, one of the three big amusement parks in the LA area (along with Six Flags and Disneyland).  My grandpaents also resided here in the 1950s.  As you can see, it's shifted nearly 8 points in PVI since 2004.  43% rentals, so definitely not wealthy either, which explains the trend.

Cypress 48K
2010 Demographics: 41% White, 31% Asian, 18% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 56% White, 21% Asian, 16% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+5
2008 PVI: R+6.5
2004 PVI: R+8.5
Cypress is home to rather rapid demographic changes, with the White population dropping 15% in ten years.  However, like much of Orange County, many of the Asians are conservative Vietnamese (although they're clearly trending Democratic).  I don't have anything else to say about Cypress, as I didn't even know it existed until I began this diary.

Region 2: Hispanic Corridor 703K
Potential for Democratics: Moderately Low (because it's already blue)

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Anaheim 336K
2010 Demographics: 53% Hispanic, 28% White, 15% Asian
2000 Demographics: 46% Hispanic, 33% White, 12% Asian
2012 PVI: D+2
2008 PVI: R+1
2004 PVI: R+7.5
Anaheim has gone from solidly red to light blue in the span of eight years.  Home to Disneyland, the "Los Angeles" Angels of Anaheim, and some very wealthy residents in the hills, it's a very polarized city, possibly the most polarized city under 500,000 residents in the state.  The hills are solidly conservative, while the predominantly Hispanic lowlands are very liberal and low-income.

Stanton 38K
2010 Demographics: 51% Hispanic, 23% Asian, 22% White
2000 Demographics: 49% Hispanic, 27% White, 15% Asian
2012 PVI: D+9.5
2008 PVI: D+2
2004 PVI: R+4.5
Stanton is residential but not high-income, somewhat rare in Orange County. It's moved an incredible 14 PVI points left since 2004, basically the reverse of places like Coal Country.  At this point, it's solidly blue unless Republicans can get to 40% with Hispanics again.

Santa Ana 329K
2010 Demographics: 78% Hispanic, 11% Asian, 9% White
2000 Demographics: 76% Hispanic, 9% Asian, 8% White
2012 PVI: D+19
2008 PVI: D+13
2004 PVI: D+6
Santa Ana isn't getting any more Hispanic, but it's still getting bluer.  Amazingly, in 1970 the city was 70% White.  Besides public employees, the largest employer is tech company Ingram Micro, but for a city with its population it doesn't have much.

Region 3: Blood Red North County 320K
Potential for Democrats: Low

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Brea 39K
2010 Demographics: 50% White, 25% Hispanic, 18% Asian
2000 Demographics: No Info
2012 PVI: R+11.5
2008 PVI: R+11
2004 PVI: R+15
Originally founded as an oil town, Brea is now an upper middle class suburb, although it has a large Bank of America and some insurance and biotech workers too.  Unlike areas in the first two regions, the blue trend doesn't appear to be continuing, and R+11 is not winnable for Democrats.  The legendary baseball pitcher Walter Johnson grew up here in the oil-town days.

Placentia 51K
2010 Demographics: 42% White, 36% Hispanic, 15% Asian
2000 Demographics: 49% White, 31% Hispanic, 11% Asian
2012 PVI: R+9
2008 PVI: R+10
2004 PVI: R+12.5
Placentia is less White than its neighbors and therefore a bit more fertile ground for Democrats in the future, but still very red. Not much else I can say about it.

Yorba Linda 64K
2010 Demographics: 64% White, 16% Asian, 14% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 75% White, 11% Asian, 10% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+21.5
2008 PVI: R+20
2004 PVI: R+21.5
A tiny village when Nixon was born here in 1913, Yorba Linda is now a wealthy OC suburb, and as conservative as you can get in California.  The demographic change here is rather quick, but as you can see the Whites here are incredibly conservative, and as of yet there's no trend toward Democrats.  Yorba Linda's city council even passed a measure supporting SB1070. Nixon would be proud.

Orange 136K
2010 Demographics: 44% White, 38% Hispanic, 11% Asian
2000 Demographics: 76% White, 11% Asian, 10% Hispanic
NOTE: I think the demographic numbers are wrong.  The Hispanic boom seems unlikely.
2012 PVI: R+8
2008 PVI: R+8
2004 PVI: R+13
Orange is the home of three large hospitals as well as Chapman University.  Its blue trend appears to have stopped, as wealthy Whites snapping back to Republicans after abandoning the Bush/Palin Republicans has been balanced by the substantial minority population voting more liberally.

Villa Park 6K
2010 Demographics: 70% White, 15% Asian, 10% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 77% White, 13% Asian, 6% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+26.5
2008 PVI: R+25
2004 PVI: R+26
If a Democratic Gubernatorial candidate won every county in California, they still might not win Villa Park.  The median family income is $125,000 and it's not getting any bluer.  Romney did as well here as he did in Utah.

North Tustin 24K
2010 Demographics: 74% White, 13% Hispanic, 8% Asian
2000 Demographics: 81% White, 8% Hispanic, 7% Asian
2012 PVI: R+18
2008 PVI: R+17
2004 PVI: No Data Found
At this point, it isn't really North County, but I had to put the unincorporated CDP of North Tustin somewhere.  It's blood red and very wealthy.

Region 4: North Coast 235K
Potential for Democrats: Pretty Low

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Los Alamitos 11K
2010 Demographics: 56% White, 21% Hispanic, 13% Asian
2000 Demographics: 60% White, 22% Hispanic, 9% Asian
2012 PVI: R+5.5
2008 PVI: R+4
2004 PVI: R+5.5
As you can see, the Hispanic population isn't growing and the PVI is the same as 2004.  That's rare for this part of Orange County and a sign that despite not being too red, it may not get bluer.  

Rossmoor 10K
2010 Demographics: 75% White, 12% Hispanic, 8% Asian
2000 Demographics: 83% White, 7% Hispanic, 6% Asian
2012 PVI: R+13
2008 PVI: R+10.5
2004 PVI: No Data
Unincorporated Rossmoor is heavily White and heavily Republican.  The upside for Democrats is that its small and not growing.  But that's the only upside.

Seal Beach 24K
2010 Demographics: 75% White, 10% Hispanic, 10% Asian
2000 Demographics: 84% White, 6% Hispanic, 6% Asian
2012 PVI: R+7.5
2008 PVI: R+6
2004 PVI: R+3.5
Seal Beach is an anomaly in that its been getting more Republican by the year.  I'm really not sure why that is.  Seal Beach itself is a beach city that also has defense industry and a Naval Weapons Station.  It's very stereotypically Orange County, from the Cold War years.  

Huntington Beach 190K
2010 Demographics: 67% White, 17% Hispanic, 11% Asian
2000 Demographics: 70% White, 15% Hispanic, 9% Asian
2012 PVI: R+10
2008 PVI: R+7.5
2004 PVI: R+9.5
Little demographic or political change here in Dana Rohrabacher's stomping grounds.  There used to be oil here, but it's mostly gone.  Boeing still remains, employing over 4,000 people.  

Region 5: America's Vietnam 324K
Potential for Democrats: Very High
 photo ocnorth_zps3d00540a.jpg

Fountain Valley 55K
2010 Demographics: 50% White, 33% Asian, 13% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 57% White, 26% Asian, 11% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+9
2008 PVI: R+10
2004 PVI: R+14.5
Fountain Valley was pretty Asian in 2000 and is getting even more so.  It's also trending blue, although the trend slowed in 2012. Eventually Democrats should be able to compete here.

Westminster 90K
2010 Demographics: 48% Asian, 24% White, 24% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 38% Asian, 32% White, 22% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+1
2008 PVI: R+10
2004 PVI: R+13.5
No, my numbers aren't off.  The Vietnamese of Orange County swung heavily to the left in 2012, just like Asians across the country.  This is extremely fertile ground for Democrats, especially as the refugee generation dies out and is replaced by those who don't remember Communism.

Garden Grove 171
2010 Demographics: 37% Asian, 37% Hispanic, 25% White
2000 Demographics: 33% Hispanic, 31% Asian, 29% White
2012 PVI: D+3
2008 PVI: R+6
2004 PVI: R+10.5
Garden Grove has the biggest shift of any place in Orange County besides Midway City, and it makes sense considering the population has been below 30% White all decade.  I'd now consider it light blue when it was red as recently as 2008.  Democrats could definitely begin to take over the city government soon.

Midway City 8K
2010 Demographics: 47% Asian, 29% Hispanic, 17% White
2000 Demographics: No Data
2012 PVI: D+3.5
2008 PVI: R+9
2004 PVI: No Data
Midway City is unincorporated and tiny (it's the patch of light blue inside Westminster) but it's a good barometer of how the Vietnamese have swung recently.  It's slowly being annexed by Westminster and may disappear soon.

Region 6: The Irvine Area 398K
Potential for Democrats: Moderately High

Tustin 76K
2010 Demographics: 40% Hispanic, 31% White, 20% Asian
2000 Demographics: 40% White, 34% Hispanic, 15% Asian
2012 PVI: R+1
2008 PVI: R+2
2004 PVI: R+8
Tustin has changed rather quickly and is a good place for Democrats to begin competing.  After all, anywhere that's only 31% White should have a D+ PVI, and local Democrats will likely try and push it over the edge in 2016.

 photo ocsouth_zpsfd327770.jpg

Costa Mesa 110K
2010 Demographics: 48% White, 36% Hispanic, 8% Asian
2000 Demographics: 52% White, 32% Hispanic, 7% Asian
2012 PVI: R+2.5
2008 PVI: Even
2004 PVI: R+5
Home to a couple tech companies and many local colleges, Costa Mesa had been getting bluer along with its neighbors in Central County.  However, it partially snapped back in 2012 (it does have a majority-White electorate).  We'll see what the future holds, but for now it's light red.

Irvine 212K
2010 Demographics: 45% White (was 84% in 1980), 39% Asian, 9% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 55% White, 30% Asian, 7% Hispanic
2012 PVI: D+3
2008 PVI: D+3.5
2004 PVI: R+1.5
Irvine hasn't recently been too red, mainly because of the large East Asian and non-Vietnamese population due to UC Irvine.  The school itself is probably the most Asian college in the world outside of Asia itself.  But the city of Irvine is much more, with many jobs in the area.  Besides the university, the largest employers are in high tech and biomedical fields.  There are around 220,000 residents and many are wealthy.  As you can see the Hispanic population is low.  Politically, it's the Democratic base of Southern OC, but it's still pretty purple.

Region 7: South County 576K
Potential for Democrats: None to Low, depending on the locale

Laguna Woods 16K
2010 Demographics: 83% White, 10% Asian, 4% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 94% White, 3% Asian, 2% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+3.5
2008 PVI: R+1
2004 PVI: D+4.5
Laguna Woods is basically a massive retirement community full of old White people, so I'm actually surprised it's so purple.  54% of households have someone over 65 living alone, and 0.3% of households have children. For every 100 women there are 55 men (probably because men die younger).  The median age is 78.  There's no other town in America like it.  I don't see potential for Democrats here unless the Republican try privatizing Social Security again.

Aliso Viejo 48K
2010 Demographics: 59% White, 17% Hispanic, 15% Asian
2000 Demographics: 68% White, 12% Hispanic, 11% Asian
2012 PVI: R+3.5
2008 PVI: D+0.5
2004 PVI: R+7.5
All areas in Region 6 had pretty solid swings rightward in 2012 after swinging left in 2008, generally settling somewhere in between.  Aliso Viejo is a prime example.  

Laguna Beach 23K
2010 Demographics: 86% White, 7% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: No Data
2012 PVI: D+4
2008 PVI: D+8.5
2004 PVI: D+9
Wealthy, liberal beach towns aren't that common, but Laguna Beach and Malibu are probably the quintessential examples.  However, Romney pulled Laguna Beach's PVI down to D+4, and it's actually been trending R for a couple elections now.

Mission Viejo 93K
2010 Demographics: 68% White, 17% Hispanic, 9% Asian
2000 Demographics: 70% White, 16% Hispanic, 8% Asian
2012 PVI: R+12
2008 PVI: R+9
2004 PVI: R+13.5
Mission Viejo has extremely low demographic change, although it's not super White to start with.  I don't see much hope for Democrats from here down to the end of the diary, though.  It probably won't get back to R+15 anytime soon like it used to be though.

Newport Beach 85K
2010 Demographics: 81% White, 7% Hispanic, 7% Asian
2000 Demographics: 88% White, 5% Hispanic, 4% Asian
2012 PVI: R+19
2008 PVI: R+12.5
2004 PVI: R+15
Wealthy, White, and conservative doesn't typify all that much of Orange County anymore, but it fits Newport Beach.  Also note the huge anti-Obama shift.

Laguna Niguel 63K
2010 Demographics: 71% White, 14% Hispanic, 9% Asian
2000 Demographics: 76% White, 10% Hispanic, 8% Asian
2012 PVI: R+11
2008 PVI: R+6
2004 PVI: R+10.5
Home to McKayla Moroney, Laguna Niguel is yet another South OC town.  They're really all pretty similar.

Laguna Hills 30K
2010 Demographics: 59% White, 21% Hispanic, 13% Asian
2000 Demographics: 68% White, 16% Hispanic, 10% Asian
2012 PVI: R+10.5
2008 PVI: R+10
2004 PVI: R+12
Due to the large non-White population, this is a place Democrats could gain ground in soon, but probably not enough to get it to blue or even purple territory.  But light red is very possible.

Rancho Santa Margarita 48K
2010 Demographics: 65% White, 19% Hispanic, 9% Asian
2000 Demographics: 72% White, 13% Hispanic, 7% Asian
2012 PVI: R+14
2008 PVI: R+9
2004 PVI: R+16.5
RSM does have one extreme: the longest city name in the state.  It has two large employers: Applied Technologies and Cox Communications, but is otherwise a generic wealthy suburb.

Ladera Ranch 23K
2010 Demographics: 68% White, 13% Hispanic, 12% Asian
2000 Demographics: No Data
2012 PVI: R+17.5
2008 PVI: R+9
2004 PVI: No Data
Ladera Ranch had a gigantic rightward shift in 2012, as it's very wealthy.  Due to it being unincorporated, there isn't a lot of info on it.

Coto De Caza 15K
2010 Demographics: 79% White, 8% Hispanic, 6% Asian
2000 Demographics: 84% White, 7% Hispanic, 5% Asian
2012 PVI: R+27
2008 PVI: R+21
2004 PVI: No Data
How does a place that seems like somewhere Mitt Romney would love vote when Mitt Romney is on the ballot?  More conservatively than Utah.  In fact, I bet it'd be tough to find anywhere with over 10,000 residents on the West Coast that is more conservative than Coto de Caza.  After all, it is a gated community.

Dana Point 33K
2010 Demographics: 75% White, 17% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 78% White, 15% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+11
2008 PVI: R+6
2004 PVI: R+9.5
For a while, it looked like Dana Point was following its neighbor Laguna Beach and heading into winnable territory for Democrats, but 2012 not only stopped that trend but reversed it.  The city itself is a famed spot for surfers.

San Juan Capistrano 35K
2010 Demographics: 53% White, 39% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 59% White, 33% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+14
2008 PVI: R+11
2004 PVI: R+14
San Juan Capistrano is famous for its swallows, which until 2009 migrated every year from Argentina to the city but have now moved on.  The city seems a good opportunity for Democrats, as it's nearly majority-minority, but it's somehow still R+14 due to Hispanics not voting.

San Clemente 64K
2010 Demographics: 75% White, 17% Hispanic
2000 Demographics: 77% White, 16% Hispanic
2012 PVI: R+15.5
2008 PVI: R+10.5
2004 PVI: R+14
Home to Nixon's Western White House, the city is still conservative and there's no real demographic change to make it any less so.

So that's Orange County.  Leave your comments and criticisms!


Will Jerry Brown win Orange County in 2014?

45%45 votes
53%52 votes

| 98 votes | Vote | Results


 photo wisen2012_zps9f3b4f75.jpg

In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin overcame fears by many that she would be too liberal for the state, aided by Tommy Thompson's weak campaign partially stemming from a very competitive 3-way primary between him, Eric Hovde, and Mark Neumann.  She ended up winning by a small but comfortable margin.  Surprisingly, Baldwin, who is to the left of Obama, ended up doing better than him a sizeable number of Wisconsin counties.  Thompson, on the other hand, did better than Romney in many bluer counties.  Let's look at some patterns:

1) Baldwin's Old District: Tammy Baldwin, who had represented Dane County (Madison) and surrounding areas for over a decade, underperformed President Obama in every county of her district.  In fact, part of her district is in the corner of Wisconsin with the darker red, showing an even stronger Thompson performance there.

2) Trends:  More so than any other state so far, in Wisconsin we can see a clear example of how trends work their way down the ballot.  The areas Thompson overperformed most in included the ancestrally Republican Driftless Area in the Southwest of the state, as well as other D-trending areas in the southern half of Ron Kind's district, and the southern part of the state in general.  

3) Milwaukee Area a Mixed Bag: One of the suburban Milwaukee counties had Baldwin overperform, and in the others she underperformed by a bit.

4) Northwoods: Some, including myself, believed Baldwin's biggest problem would be with rural voters, especially in the ancestrally Democratic areas up North.  For one thing, Baldwin's lesbianism would likely be more of an issue there, and for another, her F rating from the NRA is the biggest problem in the most rural areas, which tend to have the highest gun ownership.  However, nearly every county she overperformed in was in the Northern half of the state, and Thompson only beat Romney in a few of them.  It could be that Obama did worse than Generic Democrat did here, as he did in most areas that are heavily based on extraction (MI's Upper Peninsula, MN's Northwoods, Coal Country in Appalachia).  Or it could be that the trend hasn't gone all the way down the ballot yet.  Either way, I'm surprised by this result.

5) Native Americans: Like in Montana (see Part One), the Republican Senate candidate did better than Romney among Native Americans.  Obama seems to be stronger with them than a Generic Democrat is.  

Now for New Mexico.

 photo nmsen2012_zpsce02554c.jpg

Heather Wilson's race vs. Martin Heinrich was rated Lean D by just about everyone, and the result showed that this was the correct rating.  Wilson performed decently for a Republican in New Mexico in 2012, but it was not enough.  My observations:

1) Hispanics: Heather Wilson was clearly more popular than Mitt Romney among New Mexico's Hispanics.  The most heavily Hispanic parts of the state are north of Albuquerque, and it corresponds pretty well to where she outran Romney the most.  
2) Native Americans: Same as Wisconsin here.  Her two best counties have decent Native populations.
3) Southern New Mexico: Heinrich did best in the Southern part of the state.  I have no explanation for this.  However, the darkest blue county is the only heavily Mormon county in New Mexico, so Romney ran ahead of Generic R by quite a bit.  Wilson, as a non-Mormon, didn't.
4) Albuquerque Area:  Both candidates were from Albuquerque.  Wilson narrowly outran Romney, but it was nothing impressive.
5) Polarization: Heinrich outran Obama in nearly every county Romney won, while Wilson outran Romney in nearly every county Obama won.  There are a few exceptions, but only about five.

 photo michigansen2012_zpse6adda64.jpg

Pete Hoekstra aired has disastrous, offensive Debbie Spend-It-Now ad and never really recovered.  He underperformed Romney in every county in the state.

1) Peninsular Strength: Stabenow most overperformed Obama in the state's two peninsulas: The Upper Peninsula and the Thumb.  The Upper Peninsula is likely due to a combination of ancestral Democratic strength and Obama's unique unpopularity due to extraction (evidenced by how close McDowell came to knocking off incumbent Benishek).  The Thumb I have no explanation for.  It's never really been blue.

2) Northeast Lower Peninsula: This area is also ancestrally Dem, and Stabenow did very well.

3) Western Michigan:  Much of the lightest colored areas are in Hoekstra's old district.  They're also ancestrally Republican.  This combination meant Hoekstra ran only a couple points behind Romney.  

4) Detroit Area, Blue Collar vs. White Collar: I'd say the Detroit area proper has five counties.  In the two most blue-collar ones, Monroe and Macomb, Stabenow overperformed more than she did in the other three.  To be fair, Oakland County is also ancestrally Republican, as is Western Wayne County, so that hurt her too.

This map, more than any other so far, shows how much ancestrally Dem or GOP counties can differ once you go even one step down the ballot.


On Daily Kos Elections, many commentators throughout the summer and fall assumed Tim Kaine would outperform Barack Obama's total in Virginia.  This turned out to be true.  However, commentators also said they couldn't imagine any Obama-Allen voters, and speculated who those voters could be.  I decided to find out for myself, and so I made a map.  The bluer the county, the more the Democrat outperformed Obama.  The redder, the more they underperformed.  In this first installation of the series, I have three maps: Virginia, Montana, and Ohio.

 photo virginiasen2012_zpsee95de66.jpg

Unsurprisingly, Tim Kaine's strongest overperformance came in Virginia's ancestrally Democratic Southwest, the most Appalachian part of the state, more similar to Eastern Kentucky than the rest of the state.  A cluster of ten counties in the Southwest and one county near that cluster all had Kaine outperform Obama by at least 3%, a not-insubstantial amount of ticket splitting in a race where neither candidate deviated much from their party.  Of course, a bit of that may be racism; some of those voters may be Democrats who would have voted for Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, or other White Democrats, but not Barack Obama.  

In much of the rest of the state, Kaine ran a point or two ahead of Obama.  This was fairly uniform; it included many rural counties, more urban places like Norfolk or Alexandria, as well as suburban areas like Fairfax and Loudoun Counties as well as the Richmond suburbs.  Unlike some races, this race didn't really have the Republican candidate overperforming in the ancestrally Republican suburbs.  Part of this may be Allen's past; his offensive statements regarding African-Americans ("what position did you play?") and South Asians ("macaca") are most likely to turn off suburban voters who like voting for moderate or mainstream Republicans, but not those they see as extreme.  Even Loudoun County, an area I'd expect to have a decent number of voters who split their ticket, had Obama run behind Kaine.  A second explanation for why this didn't occur is that Romney was a great fit for moderate suburbanites.  Allen may have run ahead of George Bush or Rick Santorum, but enough swingy, wealthy moderates went for Romney that he couldn't outrun him.

Finally, and most interestingly to me, there were some areas where Allen did outrun Romney.  I'm going to break these down into three areas.

1) The Southside: Much of Southern Virginia and some of the Hampton Roads area had Allen outrun Romney.  There are multiple potential explanation for this.  Firstly, there is the possibility that Allen had particular appeal to Black voters.  I'm discounting this theory for obvious reasons.  Secondly, it's possible some Black Republicans voted for Obama out of racial solidarity, but voted Republican for other offices.  In my opinion, this is unlikely because of Allen's history, but could have occurred a bit.  Most likely to me is the idea that some low-info, mostly Black voters skipped the Senate race but voted for Obama, or turned out with the intention of only voting for Obama, leading to Allen outperforming Romney.

2) Appalachia (Bob Goodlatte's district): Six Appalachian counties had Allen do better than Romney.  In my opinion, this is the most likely place for there to actually be Obama-Allen voters.  I don't really know why that would be, though.  But the area is very White, so it's not due to minority dropoff.

3) Prince William County: This county has a lot of minorities but is ancestrally Republican.  Therefore, either of the two theories could apply.  However, the fact that Loudoun County, which is similarly ancestrally red, had Kaine overperform Obama leads to my guess that it's due to low-info minorities skipping the Senate race here as well.

Now on to Montana, where Jon Tester beat Denny Rehberg in a race I expected him to lose.

 photo montana2012senate_zpsd8b1b109.jpg

Here, as we can see, Tester outran Obama everywhere, no surprise considering his moderation and the fact that he won in a red state.  There don't appear to be strong patterns here, but I can identify a couple.
1) Native Americans: Tester didn't outrun Obama as well in counties containing reservations.  I'm not sure why this is.
2) Ranchers: Tester, from the Central, ranching part of the state, did better in the eastern two-thirds of the state than the mountainous western part.  He likely had less appeal to mountain-dwellers.  
3) Home-County Strength: Tester's home of Chouteau County is the dark-blue county that is furthest north, near the center of the state.  He did well there.  Rehberg didn't do that great in his home county, Yellowstone (Billings), the county where the C in "Crow" is located on the map.

Finally, Ohio.
 photo ohiosen2012_zps766960c9.jpg

Sherrod Brown is known as a blue-collar Democrat, closely linked to unions and manufacturing.  Therefore, he should do well in auto-manufacturing areas and relatively poorly in the suburbs, right?  Well, that didn't happen.  Here's what did.

1) Josh Mandel's strength: Mandel did pretty well in the Northwest fourth of the state.  That area has been Republican for over a century.  What surprises me, however, are the five counties he won in the Eastern half.  That area has historically been purple at worst for Democrats, yet he outran Sherrod Brown!  I don't know why this is, and I can think of no reason at all that Obama would be uniquely appealing there, but that's what happened.  Like George Allen, Josh Mandel didn't do better than average in suburban, ancestrally Republican areas like Hamilton County or Franklin/Delaware Counties.

2) The Exurban Counties: Sherrod Brown did very well in Warren, Medina, and Geauga counties, three exurban places where Republicans always win.  Perhaps Romney was very appealing there?  Otherwise I have no explanation.

3) Home Base: Sherrod Brown grew up in Mansfield.  Apparently he's still popular there.

4) Autos: I don't see any correlation between auto plants and Brown overperforming.

5) Eastern and Southern Ohio: These ancestrally Democratic areas gave Brown the overperformance we all expected.

Anyway, that's part one.  Any help with potential explanations? Feedback? Leave comments!


How many Senate races did you predict incorrectly?

43%23 votes
43%23 votes
5%3 votes
1%1 votes
5%3 votes

| 53 votes | Vote | Results


Thu Dec 20, 2012 at 03:57 PM PST

8-4-1 North Carolina

by jncca

This is my newest stab at an alternate (Democratic) gerrymander of North Carolina, one of my favorite states to redistrict.

1st: GK Butterfield (D)
Partisan Stats: D+13, 68% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 50% Black, 42% White
Black % of Democratic Primary (estimated based on # of Blacks over 18/# of Obama votes, which I know is rough and inaccurate.  It will probably be on the high end, since Whites will turn out in primaries more than Blacks): 76%
This VRA district loses a bit of its ugly arm into the Central Coastal part of the state, instead adding an arm to Durham, some areas in the Western end of the district (more of Nash and Granville, some of Person and Caswell), as well as small Tyrell County in the East.  All in all, it remains pretty similar, as it's a tough district to change.

2nd: Brad Miller (D) vs. George Holding (R)
Partisan Stats: D+3, 55% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 61% White, 25% Black
Black Primary %: 45
This district is made for a Raleigh Democrat, like Brad Miller.  Nearly the entire city is here, as are many suburbs like Wake Forest, Garner, and the bluer (R+12) parts of Johnston County, as well as more exurban and rural areas north of Wake County.  It has little in common with either Etheridge or Ellmers' 2nd districts.  Holding couldn't win.

3rd: Walter Jones (R)
Partisan Stats: R+15, 41% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 82% White, 12% Black
Black Primary %: 30
Jones gets an even redder version of his old district.  He loses swingy Tyrrell to the 1st, as well as much of Pitt County (split 4 ways on this map), Wayne County, and Wilson County.  In the South, he loses the bluer parts of the Jacksonville Area.  The district isn't contiguous here because of a giant precinct, which would be split under an actual map.  Finally, Jones gains some blood red areas from McIntyre's district along the Coast near South Carolina.

4th: David Price (D)
Partisan Stats: D+3, 54% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 69% White, 16% Black
Black Primary %: 28
Other than the chunk of Durham he loses, Price's district is very clean and quite similar to his old one.  He loses a chunk of Southern Wake County, as well as Chapel Hill.  In return, he gets some more red territory: part of Person, the rest of Chatham, and all of Lee.  

5th District: Virginia Foxx (R)
Partisan Stats: R+21, 35% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 89% White
Black Primary %: 17
Foxx gets a very similar district, particularly geographically, but it's redder mainly because she loses her half of Winston-Salem, which contained swingy and light blue areas, as well as the college town of Boone. Instead, she gets more of Rockingham County, some very red Greensboro suburbs, a little bit of Davidson County, and much of Caldwell, Avery, and Mitchell Counties in Appalachia.  

6th: Howard Coble/Renee Ellmers (R)
Partisan Stats: R+21, 35% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 80% White, 11% Black
Black Primary %: 35
Coble and Ellmers are combined in a V shaped vote sink, with no real population centers.  For a vote sink, it's not THAT ugly.  

7th: Mike McIntyre (D)
Partisan Stats: EVEN, 57% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 54% White, 28% Black
Black Primary % (likely inaccurate due to the number of DINOs in this area): 51
The only way to get a district McIntyre's successor could hold is to make it possible his successor is a Black moderate like Sanford Bishop.  McIntyre loses much of his coastal area, as well as some of the Fayetteville area, but keeps his base, the rural counties.  He gains arms to Jacksonville and Greenville.  He'll be very safe here until he retires, despite the PVI.  

8th: Larry Kissell (or, even better, a different Democrat) vs. Robert Pittenger/Richard Hudson (R)
Partisan Stats: D+2, 55% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 54% White, 33% Black
Black Primary %: 59
I tried to gerrymander this as best I could for a Black Democrat without sacrificing the neighboring districts, so it may not be enough.  The district is actually very similar to the old one.  Major differences include the territory in Cumberland and Mecklenburg Counties, as well as trading Cabarrus County for more of Monroe County.  Republicans do have a shot here, but I'm not sure how much crossover appeal either of the two incumbents in the Charlotte Area have.  My guess is almost zero.

9th: Mel Watt (D) or OPEN (D) vs. Robert Pittenger (R) or OPEN (R)
Partisan Stats: D+4, 52% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 59% White, 24% Black, 11% Hispanic
Black Primary %: 42
Lots of choices here; it could be anything from incumbent on incumbent to a totally open seat, depending where the incumbents choose to run.  Regardless, it's a Lean D seat.  

10th: Patrick McHenry (R)
Partisan Stats: R+19, 36% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 86% White
Black Primary %: 19
McHenry keeps his safe seat here.  It loses the Northernmost 4 counties, instead gaining McDowell, Polk, Henderson, and more of Gaston.  It is compact except for the arm the 11th takes out of it.

11th: Mark Meadows (R)
Partisan Stats: R+4 in 2008, so about R+6, 50% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 85% White
Black Primary %: 15
Meadows would be relatively safe, but if Shuler decides to run against him that could change.  The district is similar to Shuler's old district, but by removing McDowell, Polk, and most of Henderson Counties and replacing them with an arm to Boone and an arm to Gaston, Obama won this district by 195 votes in 2008.

12th: OPEN (D) or Mel Watt (D)
Partisan Stats: D+3, 54% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 59% White, 30% Black
Black Primary %: 53
Drawn to maximize the chances of a Black representative while keeping neighboring districts blue, this ends up looking like a less skinny version of Watt's old district.  It has parts of all six counties the current one does, and even adds a seventh.  However, it is much less ugly, although still quite gerrymandered. Black Democratic areas in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, Thomasville, Lexington, Salisbury, Statesville, and a bit of Charlotte are balanced by more Republican suburb

13th: OPEN (D)
Partisan Stats: D+4, 54% Dem Avg
Racial Stats: 68% White, 20% Black
Black Primary %: 35
This is the "White" Greensboro/Winston Salem district.  It starts in the liberal college town of Chapel Hill, takes in red Alamance County, reaches up to grab the blue (and Black) part of Rockingham, then attempts to take in as many White liberals as possible in the Greensboro/Winston Salem area.

Here's the statewide view:

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