Unwelcome constituents: Redistricting and countervailing partisan tides

M. V. Hood, Seth C. McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We analyze the effect of redrawn constituents on incumbent vote shares in Georgia U.S. House elections from 1992 to 2006. The Georgia General Assembly redrew the congressional boundaries for the 2006 midterm and the new lines redistributed approximately 31% of residents into districts with a different incumbent than the one representing them in 2004. With the use of Voting Tabulation District (VTD) data, we use a hierarchical model to evaluate the effect these redrawn constituents had on their new incumbent's vote share. We find a consistent pattern: both Democratic and Republican incumbents experienced significant reductions in their vote shares as a consequence of the redrawn VTDs placed in their districts. The short-term political climate featuring a national Democratic tide and a simultaneous statewide trend favoring the Grand Old Party (GOP) helps to explain this finding. With offsetting partisan conditions, the incumbency advantage came to the fore as Georgia U.S. House members, irrespective of party affiliation, performed better among the constituents they retained prior to redistricting. Our findings for the 2006 election run counter to the significant Republican redistricting advantage prevailing in Georgia congressional contests from 1992 to 2004.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-224
Number of pages22
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 17 2013

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Keywords

  • 2006 midterm
  • Congressional redistricting
  • Georgia
  • Multi-level model

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