Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sure the Democrats Are Riding a Wave, But Won't Gerrymandering Prevent Them from Taking Back the House?

In a word, no. That is to say, if there is a decent sized wave the Democrats have an excellent chance of taking back the House, despite the fact they are disadvantaged by gerrymandering. And by a decent-sized wave, I don't mean the Democrats carrying the House popular vote by a gaudy margin of 8-10 points or more. They can probably do it with considerably less.

Alan Abramowitz shows this in an elegant little analysis just published on Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. Abramowitz controls for the effect of post-2010 gerrymandering--which he does find is significant and large--and still finds that the Democrats could get a House majority with around 52 percent of the two party House vote (prior to 2010, the model indicates that slightly less than a majority of the popular vote--49 percent--would have sufficed).

And 52 percent looks like a pretty easy target to hit, based on results we have been seeing in the generic Congressional ballot polling. Abramowitz notes:
In recent weeks, Democrats have been averaging a lead of between eight and 10 points according to RealClearPolitics....that large a lead on the generic ballot would predict a popular vote margin of around five points and a gain of between 30 and 33 seats in the House — enough to give Democrats a modest but clear majority.
There you have it. Gerrymandering is bad....but it is far from an insuperable obstacle. 

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