Saturday, November 29, 2014

SATURDAY POLITICS: Duke Mathematicians Show How Heinously NC Republicans Gerrymandered Congressional Districts

This is an interesting study from two Duke mathematicians which demonstrates the truly heinous nature of the partisan gerrymander perpetrated by North Carolina Republicans to gain a majority of the state's Congressional districts despite getting a minority of votes.
During the 2012 elections in North Carolina, Republicans took nine of the state’s 13 U.S. House seats although 51 percent of the two-party vote went to Democratic candidates. 
The gerrymandering that led to these results isn’t unique to North Carolina or any specific party. Both Democrats and Republicans have used it for political advantage over the years. However, new technology makes it possible to draw partisan districts with increasing precision.

They used a statistical algorithm to randomly redraw the boundaries of North Carolina’s 13 congressional districts. The model produced thousands of versions of the redrawn map. All of them were based only on the legal requirements of redistricting, ensuring the districts represented roughly equal numbers of voters and were as geographically compact as possible, without accounting for race or political affiliation.
After re-running the election 100 times, with a randomly drawn nonpartisan map each time, the average simulated election result was 7 or 8 U.S. House seats for the Democrats and 5 or 6 for Republicans. The maximum number of Republican seats that emerged from any of the simulations was eight. The actual outcome of the election -- four Democratic representatives and nine Republicans – did not occur in any of the simulations. 
Feel free to re-read that again. Using ONE HUNDRED simulations of randomly drawn district lines but the same votes cast in the 2012 election NONE of those simulations produced the results of the actual 2012 election results of 9 Republicans and 4 Democrats, while the most likely simulated result was between 7 and 8 Democrats and 6 or 5 Republicans.

This result demonstrates how heinously the Republican legislature gerrymandered North Carolina's congressional districts to thwart the political will of the majority of voters.

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