Political Conditions and the Electoral Effects of Redistricting

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6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Redistricting can have considerable electoral consequences because it undermines the incumbency advantage. Numerous voters are drawn into districts with a different incumbent seeking reelection. With regard to vote choice, these redrawn constituents rely more on their partisanship and prevailing political conditions because they lack familiarity with their new representative. Macropartisanship, the aggregate party identification of the electorate, is an excellent barometer of the political climate and hence the partisan direction guiding voters. Because redrawn constituents have at best a tenuous bond with their new incumbent, partisan tides have more influence on their vote choice. Analyses of the 1992 and 2002 U.S. House elections show that higher district percentages of redrawn constituents significantly reduced the vote shares of southern Democratic representatives in 1992 and Democratic incumbents regardless of region in 2002. Given the stated behavioral implications associated with redistricting, these findings speak to the political conditions occurring at the time of these respective elections: a Republican realignment picking up steam in the South in 1992 and a short-term national GOP tide in the first post-9/11 midterm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-650
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • U.S. House elections
  • macropartisanship
  • political conditions
  • redistricting
  • redrawn voters

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