New maps generate more political competition

The first draft of maps from the California Citizens Redistricting Commission more than doubles the number of competitive congressional and legislative seats, according to a Public Policy Institute of California analysis posted a few minutes ago.

The Assembly would gain seven competitive seats for a total of 16; the Senate would see a gain of six seats, for a total of nine; while the House of Representatives would gain five seats for a total of nine.

The PPIC defines “competitive” as any seat in which the gap between the Democratic and Republican voter registration is five percentage points for the Republicans and 10 points for Democrats. (The imbalance reflects the fact that Democratic votes have historically crossed party lines more often than Republican voters, according to the analysis.)

Keep in mind, however, that the redistricting commission used no political data when it drew its lines. Proponents of

The debate over which party benefits from redistricting will undoubtedly unwind for months, particularly as California heads into the 2012 election where the first fullscale implemention of the new top-two primary election coincides with the new district boundaries.

But the PPIC predicts no measurable gains by either political party in terms of balance of power.  Some analysts have said the GOP could lose four to eight seats in Congress, while the Democrats might gain enough numbers to overcome the two-thirds vote threshold for new taxes.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen