Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Cook PVI calculations

I've calculated the Cook PVI for most of the 435 congressional districts. The districts in red are estimates based on incomplete data that isn't yet available at a precinct level. Some may be off by a 1 or 2 points, but most end up fairly accurate doing it this way.

R + 5+ - 195
R+4-5 - 9
R+3-4 - 12
R+2-3 - 10
R+1-2 - 9
R+0-1 - 6
D+0-1 - 7
D+1-2 - 7
D+2-3 - 4
D+3-4 - 10
D+4-5 - 8
D+5+ - 157

Median PVI: R+2.9
Romney won 226 districts, Obama 209

The numbers heavily favor Republicans for two reasons. First, Democrats tend to cluster in urban areas. The Voting Rights Act can group together heavily Democratic voting minorities into districts, leaving Republicans with majorities in nearby districts. There are around 55 districts that are D+20 or greater, but about half that number for the Republicans. Many of these districts are in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, California, Massachusetts, and Maryland, states Republicans didn't control redistricting.

The second reason is that there were states where Republicans did control redistricting, clustering Democrats into districts and ensuring strong Republican districts around them. It's difficult to say which had a greater impact but both had significant impacts.

Under the old lines the median 2008 PVI was R+1.4. Under those Democrats did hold the majority for two terms, but we should keep in mind that they had a number of districts with higher Republican PVIs at the time. These districts were mostly inhabited by Blue Dogs and were held by Democrats since before the district starting voting Republican. Democrats aren't winning these districts back, even in a wave.

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