New Census Numbers Kick Off Redistricting Battles Across the Country
Population changes over the last decade will drastically alter the landscape of congressional districts ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, new census data shows. State redistricting commissions will now heat up as deadlines for filing and primaries in some districts are quickly approaching and they needed the delayed data before their work could commence. You can also bet that this newly released information will only add more fodder to political prediction markets, like PredictIt, in gearing up for the midterm races.
Census data has concluded that six states will add congressional seats – Texas will get two, and Colorado, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Oregon will each add one. Seven other states will lose congressional representation – California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan and New York. Shockingly, New York was only 89 counted residents away from holding onto the seat it will now forfeit.
If you’re aware of the demographics of the states gaining and losing districts, you’ll notice that historically moderate and Republican areas are on the receiving end, while the losing side is made up of some of the largest and most historically liberal states in the nation. That explains why Republicans are celebrating the results as they eye the 2022 midterm elections where they only need a small number of victories to regain control of Congress.
It’s not entirely clear what, if any, significant role the pandemic played in the population shifts. But the data shows population growth in more rural, likely conservative, areas and shrinking in large cities that tend to vote in more liberal politicians. Republicans may be celebrating these shifts in the short-term, but concern remains for the long term that voters will bring their political affiliations with them leading to shifts in the political demographics of key Republican states. We’ve seen this play out in states like Colorado and Texas to a lesser extent already in recent years.
This new census information is good news for political bettors and the platforms they use. Not only is there more available research to be able to make educated betting decisions, but there will be new potential markets to bet on in the upcoming midterms.
Groups on both sides of the political aisle will now begin the process of using the census data to try to impact redistricting maps that favor their side, even in states that did not lose or gain seats. This will happen on the national congressional level, and for state legislature districts. Each state decides how to handle redistricting, and Republicans hold complete control of the process in 19 states that will send a combines 184 members to Congress. Democrats have complete control in just eight states that send 75 members to Congress. The two parties share power in nine states, and seven states have independent redistricting commissions who draw the boundary lines. You can see why Republicans have been so optimistic about their odds in the midterm elections.
It will be a busy time for states and their redistricting commissions, especially since they’re still waiting on more granular information from the census to be finalized. But Republicans have reason to be optimistic ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, especially with the already razor-thin margins the Democrats are trying to hold onto.