Courts & the Law, Defending Democracy, News

Now that new maps are enacted, political scientist Bitzer takes a look at partisan data

A PlanScore analysis of new enacted maps posted on Old North State Politics

North Carolina lawmakers have enacted new remedial maps after a court ordered redraw to fix House and Senate districts that were gerrymandered to entrench the Republicans in power.

They have until 5 p.m. tomorrow to submit those maps to the court, and parties to Common Cause v. Lewis have until 5 p.m. Oct. 4 to object to the maps and supply any alternative maps.

Lawmakers were barred by the court from using political data during the remedial redistricting process, but now that it’s over, Catawba College political scientist Michael Bitzer has analyzed the new maps for his blog, Old North State Politics.

Both sets of new maps saw a decrease in the efficiency gap, partisan bias, and mean-median differences from the 2018 maps, according to Bitzer.

He explains that his work is based on using the website PlanScore.org and creating a classification based on its analysis of the districts and predicted vote shares for both parties based on 2016 election data.

My classification system is:

  • Those districts with greater than 60 percent for one party: “likely” party district
  • Those districts with between 55 and 60 percent vote share for one party: “lean” party district
  • Those districts with between 50 and 55 percent vote share for one party: “competitive but favor one party” district

A few reminders before reading much further: the following analysis only paints the districts as potentially within one of these six categories based on 2016 election data. As I discussed yesterday on Twitter in a length thread, my interest is in ‘explaining’ and understanding how politics works, and one of my research interests is in North Carolina redistricting, electoral behavior, and voting patterns. For those partisans and political operatives who want to ‘read’ into these classifications that their party will win, have fun: that’s not my job. Again, as I indicated in the Twitter thread, my job is to help educated and hopefully provide context and analysis to understanding North Carolina politics. This redistricting is a major component of North Carolina politics, and thus my analysis hopefully gives a sense of where things stand in these districts in a ‘2016-based’ performance.

Bitzer shows his results through charts and graphs with a comparison to previous maps. Read the full analysis here.

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