Friday, October 1, 2010

Presidential election still 25 months away, but already the GOP appears to have gained 18 electoral votes since 2008

A new study has blue states seeing red.

Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will likely each lose a congressional seat in redistricting. New York and Ohio should lose two seats.

The U.S. Census Bureau releases its official count this December, and this final tally, and not the Election Data Services, Inc.'s projection based on preliminary counts, will determine the reapportionment in effect for the 2012 elections.

Conspicuously, states that voted for Barack Obama in 2008 are projected to lose eleven of those twelve subtracted seats. Conspicuously, states that voted for John McCain are expected to gain ten of the twelve new seats. Should Election Data Services, Inc.'s numbers hold up, Texas would gain four seats, Florida would add two, and Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington would each claim a new seat.

Red states are gaining political clout at the expense of blue states. This makes the electoral map an even more elusive puzzle for President Obama to solve in 2012.

Eleven electoral votes that he won in 2008 will be erased from his column (and one added). The states that voted for McCain will have ten electoral votes in 2012 they didn't have in 2008 (with two lost). With all other factors remaining the same, if the 2008 presidential election were held under the projected reapportionment, Barack Obama would win 356 instead of 365 electoral votes and John McCain would win 182 instead of 173 electoral votes. One way of looking at this is that, although not a single ballot has been cast for 2012, Republicans are already up eighteen electoral votes from where they were in the last presidential election. And this is to say nothing of the conservative resurgence, liberal disappointment, and disaffection of independents that puts the president in a more precarious spot for 2012 than he was in 2008.

The coming reapportionment also diminishes the power of Democrat-leaning states in the House of Representatives.

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