The electoral effects of partisan gerrymandering
Seabrook, Nicholas R.
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This study analyses the implications of partisan control of redistricting for elections to the U.S. House of Representatives. Using data from congressional elections from 1992-2008, partisan gerrymandering is compared to bipartisan, independent, and judicial redistricting in terms of its effects on electoral disproportionality and both static and dynamic district competitiveness. The results demonstrate that while partisan gerrymandering does create a short term electoral advantage for the party that controls the process these effects are neither severe nor long-lasting. Furthermore, the bigger threat to democratic accountability appears to be not partisan gerrymandering but bipartisan compromise in redistricting, which has a deleterious effect on electoral competition. These results have significant implications both for future challenges to partisan gerrymandering before the federal and state courts and policy debates about the best way to reform the redistricting process.