Article

The Intersection of Redistricting, Race, and Participation

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

The drawing of congressional district lines can significantly reduce political participation in U.S. House elections, according to recent work. But such studies have failed to explain which citizens’ voting rates are most susceptible to the dislocating effects of redistricting and whether the findings are generalizable to a variety of political contexts. Building on this nascent literature and work on black political participation, we show that redistricting's negative effects on participation—measured by voter roll-off in U.S. House elections—are generally strongest among African Americans, but that black voters can be mobilized when they are redrawn into a black representative's congressional district. Our findings, based on data from 11 postredistricting elections in five states from 1992 through 2006, both expand the empirical scope of previous work and suggest that redistricting plays a previously hidden role in affecting black participation in congressional contests.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... 13 We also calculated the Percent Black (VAP) and Percent White (VAP) for each precinct. 14 Finally, because of significant geographic differences in the share of the vote won by Cochran and McDaniel, we base our analyses according to key sections of the state: (1) Hinds County-Cochran's home county, (2) the Delta (16 total counties), and (3) We make use of racially homogenous precincts (see Hayes and McKee, 2012;McCrary, 1990) to draw an inference about race and turnout in the Republican contests. In precincts where the Percent Black was equal to or exceeded 90 percent (n = 108), 0.8 percent of the total VAP participated in the Republican primary. ...
... As is true throughout the South (Black, 2004;McKee, 2012) and especially in the Deep South (McKee and Springer, 2015), the political clout of black Mississippians has approached a new nadir in the post-VRA era because whites have overwhelmingly realigned to the GOP and no longer need Democratic votes to implement their preferred policies. Under these conditions, black votes matter if they can affect the outcome of Republican contests, since the GOP nominee is practically assured election against the Democratic opponent in the general election-an opponent who is increasingly likely to be African American (see Hayes and McKee, 2008) because blacks now constitute the majority of Democratic supporters in most southern states. 24 Given these circumstances, the extraordinary event in the 2014 GOP runoff in Mississippi might become a more regular occurrence, especially if the black vote can again unify behind a Republican candidate who is perceived as the lesser of two evils. ...
... 7 However, no previous studies come close to evaluating the effect of the percent black district population on electing african american state legislators over such a long period of time (1970s-2010s), and this shortcoming matters since this relationship exhibits significant longitudinal variation. For instance, since the end of the 1960s civil rights movement, southern black enfranchisement has increased (Black and Black 1987;Bullock and gaddie 2009;thompson 1982), but as is true of all groups, voter turnout is dynamic (Wolfinger and rosenstone 1980), and black participation is sensitive to various contextual factors (Brace et al. 1995;Fraga 2016aFraga , 2016bgay 2001;Hayes and McKee 2012;Keele et al. 2017;Keele and White 2019). additionally, throughout this period most southern whites had come to realign with the republican Party (Hood, Kidd, and Morris 2012;valentino and sears 2005). ...
Article
This study is the most comprehensive analysis of the election of black state legislators in the American South. We start with the election of Leroy Johnson to the Georgia Senate in 1962, the first African American to win a state legislative seat in the modern South. We also document the election of all subsequent African Americans who were the first to enter their southern state legislative chambers. Next, we assess the factors influencing the election of southern black state legislators from the 1970s through 2015. Because of notable long‐term changes to the southern electorate and alterations in the racial composition of legislative districts, there has been substantial variation in the likelihood of electing black lawmakers. Our final analysis highlights the undeniable reality and broader significance that the increasing share of southern African American state legislators has occurred at the same time that Republican representation has grown at a greater rate.
... Brace and colleagues (1995) and Katherine Tate (1991) found evidence that turnout was affected by the type of district that minority voters found themselves in. Over-packing districts is associated with decreased turnout, and the effects are amplified for Blacks as their population size increases (Hayes and McKee, 2012). Descriptive representation is an important tool in gaining access to government; yet, the evidence suggests that over-packing Blacks into supermajority districts should be avoided. ...
Article
How does gerrymandering affect intraparty and interparty electoral competition in state legislatures? Research has shown that electoral competition produces better representation and that descriptive representation positively affects substantive representation or policy outcomes. However, other studies have found an ever increasing incumbency advantage. I argue that the incumbency advantage within Majority Minority Districts is significant and distinct from that of majority White Democrat and Republican districts. I estimate levels of intraparty and interparty competition among Majority Minority Districts, majority White Democrat districts, and majority White Republican districts in the state legislature of Alabama. I use majority White Democrat districts as an intraparty comparison group because of African American’s statistically high support for the Democrat Party. Using three separate measures of competitiveness, I find racial gerrymandering in Alabama has a significant and sui generis negative effect on competition within Majority Minority Districts, compared to majority White districts.
... For example, in 2018, five states passed initiatives or amendments that changed the rules around the redistricting process with the goal of minimizing or outright eliminating partisan influence on the redistricting process. 3 Although there is considerable research on racial and partisan gerrymandering (Engstrom 2006;Fraga 2016;Hayes and McKee 2012;Lublin 1997;Murphy and Yoshinaka 2009;Tufte 1973, to name a few), comparatively less is known about prison-based gerrymandering. By this, we are referring to the practice of counting the incarcerated individuals housed in prisons toward a district's population, even as their last known address is outside of the district and they cannot participate in elections (with the exception of Maine and Vermont). ...
Article
Full-text available
During the most recent round of redistricting, many states have enacted a number of reforms to their mapmaking practices. One reform that has received increased attention in recent years is a ban on prison gerrymandering—the practice of counting incarcerated individuals in prisons instead of their home addresses. Eleven states drew districts while counting incarcerated persons in their homes after the 2020 Census. Though substantial research has investigated redistricting practices, far less attention has been paid to empirically examining the effect of prison gerrymandering on elections. We seek to fill this void by evaluating the effect of New York’s ban on prison gerrymandering on state legislative elections between 2002 and 2020. We find that altering how the prison population is counted, indeed, altered the electoral dynamics across the state.
... Such frustration of living in a state controlled by the opposition party may be intensified when the state is more oppositional than it should be according to the composition of the state's voting electorate. In extreme cases of gerrymandering, where statewide voting distributions do not correspond to legislative representation, such discrepancies can discourage interest in politics and Congress (Brunell, 2006) and cause informational deficits among disadvantaged populations, reducing participation (Hayes & McKee, 2012). As such, we propose: ...
Article
Full-text available
With increasing evidence on deepening cleavages along geographic lines, we argue that the local political climate plays an important role in political decision-making and engagement. In this study, we aim to understand the role of political contexts in shaping different forms of political participation, whether centered in the local community or in digital spaces. We specifically consider two important contextual factors that potentially relate to participation: the partisan composition of the neighborhood environment and the nature of political representation at the state government level. We introduce two sets of competing arguments: Mobilization and Resignation vs. Activation and Complacency to explain different participatory mechanisms. Using both national survey data collected during the 2016 U.S. election period and zip code and state-level contextual data, we employ three-level multilevel modeling to tease out how multiple factors operating at different levels are related to online or public forms of participation. In general, our findings reveal that individuals living in a state with political underrepresentation are more likely to engage in public forms of actions. Additionally, we examine subgroup analyses to show how contextual relationships with participation are different according to political orientations, such as party identification and political interest.
... In a separate study, they find that this "disruptive" effect of redistricting disproportionately affects minority voters, who face higher information costs than majority-group voters. However, when minorities are redrawn into a minority candidate's district, the effect is reversed and redistricting enhances minority participation (Hayes and McKee 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Can institutions that are designed to improve minority representation also have an effect on electoral competition? We address this question by examining how minority-concentrated districts (MCDs)—designed to empower indigenous populations—affected minority participation and party competition in Mexico. Using an original dataset and a matching design that helps alleviate causal inference problems inherent to observational studies, we find that MCDs had no effect on minority participation but enhanced electoral competition. Field-research reveals that MCDs weakened one-party dominance by assembling minority voting blocs that were amenable to opposition-party appeals. More broadly, our results suggest that the mobilization of minority voting blocs can promote electoral competition in transitional democracies.
Article
Previous studies of descriptive representation have not been able to overcome the classic endogeniety problem. For example, do Black elected officials cause Blacks to be more empowered? Or are Black politicians only elected in contexts where Blacks are already empowered? We address this shortcoming by utilizing genetic matching and the 1996 National Black Election Study. Genetic matching creates a pseudo-experimental environment where Blacks in districts with Black elected officials are matched with similarly situated Blacks in districts without Black representation. This research design allows us to better assess the causality of descriptive representation and changes in political attitudes. This study provides strong evidence that higher levels of efficacy are a result of descriptive representation, rather than the cause of it. Thus, our study demonstrates Black office-holding at the congressional level empowers the Black electorate.
Article
Fifty years ago, the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Richard Hofstadter published the seminal essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” In this and related works he examined the rhetoric animating the extreme right-wing of the country's electorate. In this article I revisit Hofstadter's claims regarding the marginalization of the paranoid style and its connection to status-based politics. A review of the most popular “pseudo-conservative” commentators, survey data, the rise of the Tea Party, and the intransigence of the present day Republican Party suggests that a worldview that was once extreme has now become “mainstreme” within the political culture.
Article
A sizable literature in American politics documents increased levels of voter turnout among black citizens when coracial candidates are on the ballot or hold office. However, due to a paucity of black Republican candidates, existing research has been unable to identify whether increased participation occurs irrespective of the candidate’s partisanship. Using data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we find that, while the presence of a black Democratic House candidate was associated with increased black voter turnout, there was no association between black Republican candidates and black turnout. These results are robust to model specification, issues of statistical power, and contextual differences across districts. We report further evidence that black citizens’ perceptions of black candidates’ ideologies and character traits differed substantially based on the candidate’s party. Our results have implications for understanding how citizens engage in politics when salient political identities come into conflict. The results further suggest that Republican efforts to recruit black candidates are unlikely to mobilize black voters.
Article
Full-text available
In Japan, malapportionment—the high level of disparity in the size of the population, and thus the weight of votes, across electoral districts—has been a national concern for several decades. Through a review of both normative theories of representation and comparative empirical studies related to the legislative malapportionment, this article identifies two problems in the ways this issue has been addressed in Japan. First, the measurement method used in most Japan-focused studies (the “max-min ratio”) is inappropriate, impeding the effectiveness of reform attempts to date. Alternative measurement methods such as the Loosemore-Hanby index should be used. Second, while most studies adopt a narrow focus in arguing for rectifying malapportionment for the sake of political equality, comparative empirical studies indicate that doing so may lead to other undesirable results such as partisan gerrymandering and lower voter turnout. This article provides a novel and comprehensive framework for possible institutional reforms based on theories of representation.
Article
This article explores whether American Indians in the United States who grew up on reservations differ from other American Indians in their political attitudes. Since growing up on a reservation likely offers unique socializing experiences to American Indians that will foster strong individual tribal identity and culture, I expect that those who grew up on reservations will have greater support for the Democratic party, liberalism, and co-ethnic candidates, but lower levels of partisanship. Using an opt-in internet survey of 301 American Indians in the US, the results suggest that those who spent more time on reservations as children had more support for co-ethnic candidates, the Democratic party, and liberalism, but were not more or less partisan than those who spent less time on a reservation. The implications and limitations of the study are also explored.
Article
State legislatures are tasked with drawing state and federal districts and administering election law, among many other responsibilities. Yet state legislatures are themselves gerrymandered. This book examines how, why, and with what consequences, drawing on an original dataset of ninety-five state legislative maps from before and after 2011 redistricting. Identifying the institutional, political, and geographic determinants of gerrymandering, the authors find that Republican gerrymandering increased dramatically after the 2011 redistricting and bias was most extreme in states with racial segregation where Republicans drew the maps. This bias has had long-term consequences. For instance, states with the most extreme Republican gerrymandering were more likely to pass laws that restricted voting rights and undermined public health, and they were less likely to respond to COVID-19. The authors examine the implications for American democracy and for the balance of power between federal and state government; they also offer empirically grounded recommendations for reform.
Article
For the first time in U.S. history, after decades of unprecedented growth in interior immigration enforcement disproportionately impacting Latinos, ten percent of the U.S. House of Representatives is Hispanic. Using congressional district‐level data on all candidates participating in general elections to the U.S. House of Representatives between 2008 and 2018, we show that intensified immigration enforcement suppressed Hispanics’ representation in congressional elections. The effect—nonexistent for other minorities, such as non‐Hispanic Black candidates, as well as in primary elections—is driven by local police‐based measures and diminished electoral support. Furthermore, it appears more harmful during midterm elections and in localities without a sanctuary policy.
Article
Full-text available
选区划分是选举地理学的重要研究内容,选区划分是否科学合理,直接影响选举结果。本文从选区研究主题、选区划分原则等方面对美国选区划分的相关文献进行梳理与总结,发现美国选举选区划分的研究主要聚焦于以下议题:选区划分与社会分裂、选区划分与分区不公、选区划分与司法介入,以及选区划分与选票/席位转化曲线。在分区原则上,美国选区主要立足于人口、地理和政治三大原则进行划分,具体执行中采用邻近性、紧凑性、人口同等、种族平等、尊重行政边界、尊重利益社区、保护在任者/保留旧选区核心等原则。借鉴美国选区划分的研究进展,本文建议地理学者未来应在精准预测选举结果、追踪世界民主选举的动态和促进选区划分的公正性等方面进一步深入地展开理论探讨与政策研究。
Article
Full-text available
What effect does seeing a member of a historically marginalized group in high-level office have on attitudes toward government among those who identify with that group? We hypothesize that, when salient, increased descriptive representation will increase feelings of government responsiveness among members of historically marginalized groups. Moreover, we hypothesize that this effect will persist even when substantive representation is not expected, that is, when the official is viewed as unlikely to represent the individual's own political interests. We explore this theory by taking advantage of two exogenous changes in descriptive representation: the election of the first African–American president, Barack Obama, and the confirmation of the first Latino on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor. Using panel data and a difference-in-differences design, we analyze within-person changes in attitudes toward government among African–Americans and Latinos, from before to after these events. In doing so, we attempt to separate descriptive from anticipated substantive representation.
Book
State legislatures are tasked with drawing state and federal districts and administering election law, among many other responsibilities. Yet state legislatures are themselves gerrymandered. This book examines how, why, and with what consequences, drawing on an original dataset of ninety-five state legislative maps from before and after 2011 redistricting. Identifying the institutional, political, and geographic determinants of gerrymandering, the authors find that Republican gerrymandering increased dramatically after the 2011 redistricting and bias was most extreme in states with racial segregation where Republicans drew the maps. This bias has had long-term consequences. For instance, states with the most extreme Republican gerrymandering were more likely to pass laws that restricted voting rights and undermined public health, and they were less likely to respond to COVID-19. The authors examine the implications for American democracy and for the balance of power between federal and state government; they also offer empirically grounded recommendations for reform.
Article
Polling place consolidation makes administering voting easier but scholars question the effect on turnout. Vote centers (which consolidate polling locations) are theoretically less expensive to administer and convenient for many voters, but less is known about the impacts on specific racial communities or across election cycles. Using Texas’ registered voters’ list from the Secretary of State’s Voting Division, this paper uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to calculate estimated driving distances from each registered voter’s residence to a vote center location. The results show that the displacement of traditional precinct-level voting and the increase in distance between polling locations takes a greater toll on voter turnout for voters in midterm (but not presidential) elections and rural counties with more Latino voters. The implications demonstrate that vote centers can boost turnout in some elections but that the location of vote centers significantly effects turnout among ethnic minorities.
Article
Equal representation and electoral participation lie at the core of democracy. However, the two are sometimes contradictory. When redistricting is used to correct malapportionment, a typical example of unequal representation, it can discourage citizens from voting by increasing their anxiety about whether their interests are represented and increasing their information cost. The effect of redistricting on electoral participation has not been accurately estimated due to difficulty isolating the effect from past redistricting and other factors. Japan’s upper house conducted its first redistricting in 2016, providing an ideal opportunity to identify and isolate the effect of redistricting on electoral participation by avoiding the usual methodological problems. Using an original dataset on Japan’s upper house elections from 2001 to 2019 and employing a differences-in-differences design, this study reveals that redistricting reduced voter turnout by 10.3 percentage points and that the effect lasted until the second election after redistricting.
Chapter
Full-text available
A pesquisa analisa as estratégias organizacionais de PT e PSDB a partir da perspectiva dos gastos e transferências de recursos financeiros realizados pela sede nacional destes partidos entre 1996 e 2015. Parte-se do pressuposto de que o gasto partidário pode refletir as estratégias organizacionais da distribuição de poder interno uma vez que a atividade política exige investimento monetário. Objetiva-se identificar se PT e PSDB possuem comportamentos distintos na centralização ou não dos recursos financeiros; além de categorizar os gastos realizados pelos dois partidos no período e identificar se há diferença por tipo de gasto, o que pode indicar estratégias organizacionais diferentes. Parte-se de três hipóteses. Na primeira o PSDB terá maior descentralização dos recursos, transferindo a maior proporção aos diretórios e candidatos estaduais, municipais e possui menos gastos com organização e formação, mais com serviços técnicos e eleições. Na segunda, o PT é mais centralizado, concentra os recursos em nível nacional, como um partido de massas, e possui mais gastos com organização e formação. Por fim, na terceira hipótese afirma-se que nos anos em que o partido está no governo federal há aumento de suas despesas. Para testar tais hipóteses, realiza-se a categorização e análise dos dados das prestações de contas dos partidos, declarados ao Tribunal Superior Eleitoral do Brasil, de 1996 a 2015, comparando a estratégia de gastos dos dois partidos em eleições, estrutura, formação ideológica, gastos técnicos e transferências. Corroboramos com os resultados de pesquisas anteriores sobre os dois partidos, confirmando, assim, a importância de observar as finanças dos partidos para a compreensão de suas dinâmicas organizacionais.
Article
Why do Supreme Court opinions denounce some districts as political gerrymanders but say nothing about other superficially similar districts? Why does the Court deem some majority-minority districts unnecessary under the Voting Rights Act, or even unconstitutional, but uphold other apparently analogous districts? This Article introduces a concept -- “spatial diversity” -- that helps explain these and many other election law oddities. Spatial diversity refers to the variation of a given factor over geographic space. For example, a district with a normal income distribution is spatially diverse, with respect to earnings, if most rich people live in one area and most poor people live in another. But the district is spatially homogeneous if both rich and poor people are evenly dispersed throughout its territory.Spatial diversity matters, at least in the electoral realm, because it is linked to a number of democratic pathologies. Both in theory and empirically, voters are less engaged in the political process, and elected officials provide inferior representation, in districts that vary geographically along dimensions such as wealth and race. Spatial diversity also seems to animate much of the Court’s redistricting case law. It is only spatially diverse districts that have been condemned (mostly in dissents) as political gerrymanders. Similarly, it is the spatial heterogeneity of the relevant minority population that best explains why some majority-minority districts are upheld by the Court while others are struck down.After exploring the theoretical and doctrinal sides of spatial diversity, the Article aims to quantify (and to map) the concept. Using newly available American Community Survey data as well as a statistical technique known as factor analysis, the Article provides spatial diversity scores for all current Congressional districts. These scores are then used: (1) to identify egregious political gerrymanders; (2) to predict which majority-minority districts might be vulnerable to statutory or constitutional attack; (3) to evaluate the Court’s recent claims about various districts and statewide plans; and (4) to confirm that spatial diversity in fact impairs participation and representation. That spatial diversity can be measured, mapped, and applied in this manner underscores the concept’s utility.
Article
Full-text available
The Voting Rights Act guarantees minority voters an "equal opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice." Yet the implementation of this requirement is beset with technical difficulties: first, current case law provides no clear definition as to who qualifies as a candidate of choice for the minority community; second, traditional techniques for estimating equal opportunity rely heavily on ecological regression, which is prone to statistical bias; and third, no attempt is made to systematically evaluate the impact of alternative districting strategies on the substantive representation of minority interests rather than just descriptive representation. We offer an alternative approach to majority-minority districting that (1) explicitly defines the term "candidate of choice;" (2) determines the point of equal opportunity without relying on ecological regression; and (3) estimates the expected impact of competing districting schemes on substantive representation. We then apply this technique to a set of alternative districting plans for the South Carolina State Senate.
Article
Full-text available
The Voting Rights Act guarantees minority voters an "equal opportunity to elect the candidate of their choice." Yet the implementation of this requirement is beset with technical difficulties: first, current case law provides no clear definition as to who qualifies as a candidate of choice for the minority community; second, traditional techniques for estimating equal opportunity rely heavily on ecological regression, which is prone to statistical bias; and third, no attempt is made to systematically evaluate the impact of altemarive districting strategies on the substantive representation of minority interests rather than just descriptive representation. We offer an alternative approach to majority-minority districting that (1) explicitly defines the term "candidate of choice;" (2) determines the point of equal opportunity without relying on ecological regression; and (3) estimates the expected impact of competing districting schemes on substantive representation. We then apply this technique to a set of alternative districting plans for the South Carolina State Senate.
Article
Full-text available
In his critique of our earlier paper on majority-minority voting districts, David Lublin suggests that our conclusions with respect to the election of minorities to office are flawed, and that we incorrectly estimate optimal districting strategies for the substantive representation of minority interests in Congress. Subjecting these claims to direct empirical examination, we find that our previous results are unaltered by the inclusion of Latino voters in our estimates of equal opportunity, and that incumbency advantage cannot fully explain the recent victories of minority candidates in the South. Neither do the critiques of our results regarding substantive representation stand up to systematic analysis: Evidence at both the state level and over time confirm our conclusion that districts on the order of 45% black voting age population maximize the expected number of votes for minority-supported legislation.
Article
Full-text available
Majority-minority voting districts have been advanced as a remedy to the underrepresentation of minority interests in the political process. Yet, their efficacy in furthering the substantive goals of minority constituents has been questioned because they may dilute minority influence in surrounding areas and lead to an overall decrease in support for minority-sponsored legislation. Thus, there may be a trade-off between increasing the number of minority officeholders and enacting legislation that furthers the interests of the minority community. Using nonlinear estimation techniques, we simulate the districting strategies that maximize substantive minority representation, and find that such a trade-off does exist. We also find that, outside of the South, dividing minority voters equally across districts maximizes substantive representation; inside the South the optimal scheme creates concentrated districts on the order of 47% black voting age population. In addition, minority candidates may have a substantial chance of being elected from districts with less than 50% minority voters.
Article
Full-text available
Using 1987 national sample survey data that included a large black oversample, we reexamine black-white differences in sociopolitical participation. We hypothesized that increases in black empowerment would affect the level of black sociopolitical participation and change the nature of black-white differences in political behavior. The results show that blacks in high-black-empowerment areas--as indicated by control of the mayor's office--are more active than either blacks living in low-empowerment areas or their white counterparts of comparable socioeconomic status. Furthermore, the results show that empowerment influences black participation by contributing to a more trusting and efficacious orientation to politics and by greatly increasing black attentiveness to political affairs. We discuss the results' implications for theoretical interpretations of when and why black sociopolitical behavior differs from that of whites.
Article
Full-text available
Contrary to Cameron, Epstein, and O'Halloran's article (1996), (1) racial redistricting remains vital to the election of African Americans to the U.S. House, and (2) the tradeoff between black descriptive and substantive representation is actually greater in the South than in the North. Substantive and methodological errors explain why they arrived at their findings. Specifically, their analysis ignores the effect of the presence of Latinos on the election of African Americans. Ironically, due to the very policy assessed in the article, Cameron, Epstein, and O'Halloran's data set does not allow them to examine the link between the racial composition of a district and the ideology of its representative. In addition, they do not consider that racial redistricting not only changes the aggregation of seats into votes but also indirectly boosts the Republican share of votes and seats.
Article
Full-text available
Most observers now consider the American South a two-party region, with Democrats and Republicans competing vigorously for political office. In this article, we raise the possibility that the South has begun a transformation into a one-party region dominated by the GOP. Three factors tip the scales in the party's favor: the ideological congruence between the Republican Party and the region's electorate, the Republican trend among the region's younger voters, and the incumbency advantage accrued by current Republican officeholders. Using a vast array of longitudinal data from the South, we provide evidence that speaks to the daunting challenges facing the Democratic Party in the South. We also address the results in the South's 2006 midterm elections. The findings suggest that as the United States' most reliably Republican region continues to change, Democrats may have an exceedingly difficult time winning statewide races.
Article
Full-text available
Borrowing findings from the literature on voter turnout, the authors examine the causes of roll-off in city council contests among black voters in New Orleans, a black empowerment area, between 1965 and 1998. The findings suggest the relevance of institutional power on group political participation. Roll-off among black voters declined after blacks held the majority of city council seats. Moreover, the findings indicate the relevance of election competitiveness. Black voter roll-off was lower in runoff elections than in primaries. Finally, the findings suggest that mobilization by black candidates, particularly by black incumbents, may yield enhanced political participation among black voters in urban elections.
Article
Full-text available
Past studies have shown that racially polarized voting results in African American and Latino congressional candidates rarely winning election outside of majority-minority districts. Analyz ing U.S. House of Representatives elections from 1972 through 1994 confirms these findings and shows that race, rather than socioeconomic factors highly correlated with race, accounts for racial polarization in congressional elections. Nonracial district characteristics bear virtually no relationship to the race of a district's representative. Even if socioeconomic differences among African Americans, Latinos, and Whites decline substantially, race will continue to play an important role in American elections. If the Supreme Court's decisions in Shaw v. Reno and its progeny reduce the number of majority-minority districts, then the number of minority repre sentatives probably will decline as well.
Article
Full-text available
Both implicit democratic norms and the reconstructions provided by theorists of rational choice suggest that issue voters are more sophisticated--educated, informed, and active in politics--than other voters. But some issues are clearly more difficult than others, and the voters who respond to @'hard@' and @`easy@' issues, respectively, are assumed to differ in kind. We propose the hypothesis that @'`easy-issue@' voters are no more sophisticated than non-issue voters, and this is found to be the case. The findings suggest a reevaluation of the import of rising and falling levels of issue voting and suggest a prominent role for @`easy@' issues in electoral realignments.
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the controversial 1996 success of three African American incumbents (Sanford Bishop and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia and Corrine Brown of Florida) who lost their majority-Black southern congressional districts to Supreme Court decisions. Using aggregate electoral data and Gary King's solution to the ecological inference problem, we gauge (a) the extent of bias against Black candidates, (b) the extent of backlash against Black voters, and (c) the extent to which incumbency explains away the Georgia victories. The findings are compatible with neither a full attack on racial redistricting nor a defense of it. Southern Whites do not exhibit either consistent bias against Black candidates or backlash against Black voters, but racial polarization is nonetheless evident and dispersed in a geographically systematic manner. Barriers against Black representation are still strong, but they are not the electoral barriers that civil rights activists assume when they embrace majority-minority districts.
Article
Full-text available
This article examines how the splitting of counties into multiple congressional districts affects citizens’ abilities to recall House candidates, turnout, roll off their congressional vote, and cast straight-ticket ballots. We demonstrate that while voters living in the “short end of the split” are less likely to recall their House candidates, they do behave similarly at the ballot box to voters drawn into districts containing their natural community of interest. Our results suggest the Supreme Court’s traditional focus on population equality across congressional districts might be more appropriately administered in concert with respect for natural communities of interest such as counties.
Article
Full-text available
In 2005 the Republican-controlled General Assembly redrew Georgia's congressional districts in order to gain additional seats in the 2006 midterm election. In this article we present a case study of the effects of redistricting on turnout and vote choice in Georgia's District 8 in the 2006 U.S. House election. It is apparent both from our findings and an elite interview, that unlike the more aggressive strategy employed by Texas Republicans in 2003, Georgia Republicans tried to thread the needle in their goal of winning District 8. Conventional wisdom suggests that if a political party controls redistricting it will maximize its electoral opportunities. But this was not the case in Georgia.
Article
Following each recent round of redistricting, scholars have tried to determine whether that round worked to one party's advantage and whether control of the redistricting process by members of one party led to gerrymandering. They have reached mixed conclusions. Here, we examine the partisan consequences of the post-1990 redistricting for the U.S. House of Representatives. We create two sets of projections of partisan support levels for the 1990 and 1992 districts based on district-level 1988 presidential election data. One set of projections assumes an incumbency advantage, and one set assumes the hypothetical situation of all open seats, i.e., no incumbency advantage. We ask whether either party benefited and whether gerrymandering occurred. When we take incumbency into account. we find that our projections show that the two parties came out just about oven in redistricting, with an increase in the number of districts evenly split between them. However, when we assume all open seats, our projections show an increase of 21 Republican districts, a decrease of 3 Democratic districts, and a decrease of 17 evenly split districts. We conclude that the Republican party gained from redistricting and that incumbency and other short-term factors obscure changes in the underlying partisan support in districts. In a state-level analysis of redistricting outcomes. we find no evidence that parties succeeded in using control of state government to gain, partisan advantage through redistricting.
Article
Numerous studies show that the rate at which African-Americans cast ballots with missing or invalid votes, i.e., the African-American residual vote rate, is higher than the corresponding white rate. While existing literature argues that the plethora of African-American residual votes is caused by administrative problems or socioeconomic factors, we show using precinct-level data from two recent elections in Cook County, Illinois, that the African-American residual vote rate in electoral contests with black candidates is less than half the rate in contests without black candidates. African Americans, therefore, are able to reduce their residual vote rate when they wish to do so. We present complementary findings for white voters, whose residual vote rate often substantially increases in contests which feature dominant black candidates.
Article
The symbolic importance of Barack Obama’s election is without question. But beyond symbolism, does the election of African-American politicians matter? Grose argues that it does and presents a unified theory of representation. Electing African-American legislators yields more federal dollars and congressional attention directed toward African-American voters. However, race and affirmative action gerrymandering have no impact on public policy passed in Congress. Grose is the first to examine a natural experiment and exceptional moment in history in which black legislators - especially in the U.S. South - represented districts with a majority of white constituents. This is the first systematic examination of the effect of a legislator’s race above and beyond the effect of constituency racial characteristics. Grose offers policy prescriptions, including the suggestion that voting rights advocates, the courts, and redistricters draw ‘black decisive districts’, electorally competitive districts that are likely to elect African Americans.
Book
Pundits have observed that if so many incumbents are returned to Congress to each election by such wide margins, perhaps we should look for ways to increase competitiveness - a centerpiece to the American way of life - through redistricting. Do competitive elections increase voter satisfaction? How does voting for a losing candidate affect voters' attitudes toward government? The not-so-surprising conclusion is that losing voters are less satisfied with Congress and their Representative, but the implications for the way in which we draw congressional and state legislative districts are less straightforward. Redistricting and Representation argues that competition in general elections is not the sine qua non of healthy democracy, and that it in fact contributes to the low levels of approval of Congress and its members. Brunell makes the case for a radical departure from traditional approaches to redistricting - arguing that we need to "pack" districts with as many like-minded partisans as possible, maximizing the number of winning voters, not losers.
Article
Within the last 15 years historians, political scientists, and sociologists have played major roles as expert witnesses in southern voting-rights cases. In most of these lawsuits, black plaintiffs challenged the racially discriminatory effects of at-large elections, contests in which candidates must run citywide or countywide rather than from single-member districts. Unless a white majority casts its votes as a bloc against minority candidates, at-large elections do not have a discriminatory impact. For this reason, the court’s decision frequently turns on its assessment of the degree to which electoral patterns in the jurisdiction are polarized along racial lines. Although the expert witnesses on whom the court must rely have employed a variety of statistical methods, they increasingly have preferred a technique known as ecological regression analysis to measure the degree of racial bloc voting (Loewen 1982: 179–94; Grofman et al. 1985; Engstrom and McDonald 1985; Jacobs and O’Rourke 1986).
Article
Symbolic politics and governing coalition theories are used to predict political orientations of blacks, whites, and Hispanics in cities with long-term minority regimes. Positive attitudes toward the minority regime and its policies are a function of the symbolic value people place on minority empowerment and whether one is part of the dominant governing coalition. Analysis of variance and multivariate regression analysis of Los Angeles area public opinion data. Membership in the governing coalition is the best predictor of political attitudes toward the administration and its policies. The standard symbolic politics model is revised to incorporate ideas about competing "political styles" in the African-American community.
Article
n April 1983, Harold Washington became the first black mayor of Chicago. His victory came at the end of a rancorous campaign that attracted national media coverage and left Chicago "a city divided against itself." "Chicago Divided" sensitively reconstructs the developments that led to Chicago's 1983 political season. Investigating the election and its background, Kleppner taps a formidable array of sources including newspapers, court cases, public opinion polls, and voting returns to analyze the causes and consequences of Chicago's electoral revolution."
Book
Tremendous transformation marks the last three decades of American politics, and nowhere has this change been as distinctive and penetrating as in the American South. After 120 consecutive years of minority status, the rapid ascendancy of Southern House Republicans in the 1990s has reshaped the contours of contemporary American politics: increasing party polarization, making a Republican House majority possible, and, most recently, contributing to the revival of Democratic fortunes in national congressional elections. Southern Republican ascendancy constitutes an exemplar of party system change, made possible by three sequential factors: increasing Republican identification, redistricting, and the emergence of viable Republican candidates. Relying on existing and original data sources, this text presents the most recent example of large-scale partisan change. Beyond serving as a primer for the study of political parties, campaigns and elections, and Southern politics, Republican Ascendancy in Southern U.S. House Elections provides an original theoretical argument and an expansive view of why political change in the South has such strong implications for national politics.
Article
Redistricting analysis and the concept of gerrymandering are based on the assumption that the electorate is comprised of durable racial, ethnic or partisan blocs of voters. Accordingly, vote dilution analysis is employed to determine whether the constituencies comprised of these durable blocs have had their aggregate voting power diminished by a particular redistricting scheme. In this article, I demonstrate that this assumption does not hold for partisan redistricting analysis because partisan blocs of voters are not durable. Instead, their partisan profile changes in response to incumbency, electoral competition and redistricting. These findings not only contradict prevailing analyses of redistricting, but also undermine the logic of remedial redistricting.
Article
The authors explore the relationship between long-term black empowerment and racial turnout rates in Atlanta (Georgia), Cleveland (Ohio), and Los Angeles (California). Symbolic politics, intergroup competition, and political alienation theories are used to explain interracial differences in political participation in mayoral elections. Strong and durable symbolic effects are evident in all three cases. Black turnout equals or exceeds white turnout during and, in the case of Cleveland, after the period of black empowerment. In Los Angeles, however, the symbolic benefits of black empowerment eventually wane as a result of increasing political alienation among black voters.
Article
How do members of Congress anticipate and prepare for redistricting? I present data from the 1992 redistricting cycle that indicate that one reason why we rarely see changes in representation after redistricting is that incumbents change both their legislative activities and their campaigning prior to the first post-redistricting election. To examine incumbents' behavioral anticipation of redistricting in more detail, I also present a case study of incumbents' activities prior to the 1998 court-ordered congressional redistricting in North Carolina. I find that these incumbents participated actively in the redistricting process and made behavioral adjustments before they began to represent their new districts officially. These types of adjustments were often subtle, including changes in casework, local projects, and the allocation of staff and campaign resources.
Article
Research on the impact ot redistricting on the representational opportunity of political groups is frequently grounded on the assumption that a group's "fair representation" can be easily determined. In this article the author takes issue with this assumption and shows that because partisan behavior is quite sensitive to changes in the electoral environment, the partisan profile and, therefore, the fair representation of a given constituency is quite difficult to determine. As a result, theories of representation as well as the concept of its denial by gerrymander must be reconsidered.
Article
The authors examine constituency changes induced by redistricting and ask three questions:What explains the amount of instability and uncertainty induced by redistricting? Does uncertainty affect legislators’ career choices? How do these changes affect election outcomes? The authors show that partisan redistricting plans are able to produce significant instability between elections, especially for opposing-party incumbents. Their findings have important implications for representation: through redistricting, strategic actors can disrupt the stability that many theorists would consider paramount for the operation of a democratic republic. The authors show that the effects of redistricting go beyond the simple examination of changes in each district’s underlying partisanship.
Article
In the construction of majority-minority districts, it has typically been assumed that turnout of minority voters is low compared to that of Whites. But what happens in the minority-dominated districts that are created? With a considerably enhanced ability to elect a candidate of their own choosing, does turnout increase? We test whether the creation of majority-minority legislative districts in Florida increased turnout of Black and Hispanic voters in 1992. The results are mixed. Over-time comparisons suggest that turnout of both groups might have benefitted from the creation of majority-minority districts. Cross-sectional analyses, however, suggest both increases and decreases in turnout in the newly created minority districts. We cannot yet conclude that the creation of minority-dominated districts has a consistent effect on minority turnout.
Article
I develop a model of optimal partisan gerrymandering to analyze the claim majority-minority legislative districting helps Republicans. I first determine the number of Democrats elected in states where Democrats control redistricting and the number of Republicans elected in states were Republicans control redistricting. I then determine how electoral outcomes change if the federal government requires redistricters to create majority-minority districts. In states where Republicans control redistricting, majority-minority mandates weakly decrease the number of Republicans elected. In states where Democrats control redistricting, a bare majority-minority mandate does not affect the number of Democrats elected. However, if Democratic redistricters face geographical constraints or supermajority-minority mandates, some Democratic votes are wasted and the number of Democrats elected weakly decreases.
Article
We provide new estimates of the size of the personal vote in U.S. House elections from 1872 to 1990. We take advantage of the "natural experiment" that attends decennial redistricting every ten years, most incumbents are given new districts that contain a combination of old and new territory. By contrasting an incombent's vote in the new part of the district with hist or her vote in the old part of the district, we can estimate the magnitude of the personal vote-the vote that the incumbent receives because he or she represented the voters in the past. Our estimates confirm prior work that shows that a large fraction of the incumbency advantage owes to the personal vote, as opposed to challenger quality. Unlike past research, we are able to estimate the relationship between district partisanship and the personal vote. We find a significant interaction which shows that incumbents develop larger personal votes in areas where they are electorally most vulnerable.
Article
Millions of American voters fail to complete their ballots each election year. These voters present a puzzle: After having incurred the costs of going to the polls, why do they choose not to vote on some of the items on the ballot? This paper considers voter rolloff between presidential and House races in an effort to understand the reasons why some voters abstain selectively. We consider this question by analyzing House rolloff based on aggregate data from the 1990s and national survey data from the 1980s. The results indicate that voters skip House contests not because they are lacking in education or members of minority groups, but rather because they do not have enough information to cast a vote. This finding offers new insight into how rolloff voters approach a ballot: They treat voting as if it were a test, picking out the questions that they can answer.
Article
An analysis of the various ballots used in the 1986 Oklahoma general election shows that some ballot formats are more confusing than others. The confusing ballots cause increased voter roll-off even in highly salient contests such as for the United States Senate. Furthermore, there is an interaction between confusing ballots and the voter's race. Precincts with greater proportions of black citizens are especially impacted by confusing ballot arrangements, as are precincts with a larger proportion of older citizens. It is particularly troublesome that commonly used ballot formats appear to diminish the constitutionally protected vote of black persons.
Article
Using data from a longitudinal telephone study of voting-eligible black Americans I explore the political context of black voter turnout in the 1984 and 1988 presidential elections and reexamine the attitudinal and demographic variables associated with black electoral participation. Jesse Jackson supporters were more likely to vote in the 1984 presidential election, while black opposition to Reagan was also linked to black voter turnout in 1984. Nonetheless, blacks who preferred Jackson to other primary contenders in the 1988 nominating contest were less likely to vote in the presidential election. Finally, while education, political interest, partisanship, and age were generally associated with black voter participation, race identification had a less consistent effect. Instead, church membership and involvement in black political organizations serve as alternative, community-based resources that promote black participation. This research underscores the importance of both political context and group-based political resources in stimulating the black vote.
Article
Following each recent round of redistricting, scholars have tried to determine whether that round worked to one party's advantage and whether control of the redistricting process by members of one party led to gerrymandering. They have reached mixed conclusions. Here, we examine the partisan consequences of the post-1990 redistricting for the U.S. House of Representatives. We create two sets of projections of partisan support levels for the 1990 and 1992 districts based on district-level 1988 presidential election data. One set of projections assumes an incumbency advantage, and one set assumes the hypothetical situation of all open seats, i.e., no incumbency advantage. We ask whether either party benefited and whether gerrymandering occurred. When we take incumbency into account, we find that our projections show that the two parties came out just about even in redistricting, with an increase in the number of districts evenly split between them. However, when we assume all open seats, our projections show an increase of 21 Republican districts, a decrease of 3 Democratic districts, and a decrease of 17 evenly split districts. We conclude that the Republican party gained from redistricting and that incumbency and other short-term factors obscure changes in the underlying partisan support in districts. In a state-level analysis of redistricting outcomes, we find no evidence that parties succeeded in using control of state government to gain partisan advantage through redistricting.
Article
Recent research has begun to examine the participatory effects of redistricting. There is evidence that voters redrawn into a district with an unfamiliar incumbent are less likely to cast a U.S. House vote than voters who remain in a district with a familiar representative. In this paper, we consider whether race conditions the effect of redistricting on participation, examining both whether voter roll-off in U.S. House elections varies by a community's racial composition and the race of the incumbent. Using voting tabulation data (VTD) from the state of Texas from 2002-2006, we find a fairly consistent pattern regarding the participatory effects of redistricting for these three straight elections held under altered district lines: Highly populated African American VTDs redrawn into a new incumbent's district had significantly higher rates of voter roll-off in the congressional election. Furthermore, this effect is restricted to districts represented by white incumbents. These effects were either inconsistent or non-existent in the case of VTDs with high white and high Hispanic populations.
Article
The election of African Americans to Congress is a primary achievement of the post-civil rights transition from protest to politics. I evaluate the link between black congressional representation and political engagement, as measured by voting participation. There are two related objectives: Construct a broader model of participation that takes into account a key component of the political environment since the civil rights era, and more fully appreciate the political significance of minority officeholding by considering its nonpolicy consequences. Using precinct data from eight midterm elections, I demonstrate that the election of blacks to Congress negatively affects white political involvement and only rarely increases political engagement among African Americans.