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Saturday: on CNN with Smerconish, 9:30am Eastern

October 19th, 2018, 8:16pm by Sam Wang


Saturday at 9:30am Eastern on CNN, I joined @smerconish to talk about midterm elections. On my mind, a bug in democracy: this year Democrats could win the popular vote, yet still not retake the House.

P.S. We didn’t get to the part about how to repair the bugs. Basically, Democrats are overwhelmingly likely to win the national popular vote (currently hovering around an 8-point margin). But they may still not retake the House (they’re only 2 points above estimated threshold for that). If that happens, it will be because of gerrymandering. Fixing that is a state-by-state battle. Help us with that!

Tags: 2018 Election · House · Redistricting

5 Comments so far ↓

  • LondonYoung

    So, 538 has a gerrymandering project too
    https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/redistricting-maps/
    The front page there indicates that gerrymandering nets the GOP only two or three seats vs compact districts.
    Your stanford paper indicates it is more like twelve seats.
    Any comments on the strengths/weaknesses of the two approaches?

    • Sam Wang

      I am tired of talking about that project. I’ve commented on it before but don’t want to start a p___ing match.

      Their maps are unlikely to reflect the kind of choices that legislators actually make. Placing compactness as a primary criterion is itself a normative choice. If you inspect gerrymandered states one by one, and I invite you to, it becomes apparent that there is a range of possible outcomes. I have written about this repeatedly.

      To put it another way, districting is a process of trading off priorities. I don’t think they have adequately processed that fact.

    • LondonYoung

      What makes PEC’s site special, and valuable, is that all the methodology is exposed. You get to argue with the data and the methods, not the author.

      A hyper-partisan DailyKos author using subjective methods to produce what he calls a non-partisan map which reveals just the partisan results he obviously wanted – well, it is not the same thing now, is it?

    • Sam Wang

      It is potentially the case that Stephen Wolf’s maps look for ways to favor Democrats. However, when it comes to data, DK Elections runs an honest shop that is well-regarded on all sides.

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