An insightful piece in the National Journal discusses redistricting implications of the 2010 election cycle. Even if public sentiment is against Republicans in ’12, the party’s control of redistricting in key battleground states — Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina — lessens the probability of an electoral thumpin’/shellacking:
The GOP’s massive gains in state legislatures mean they enter 2012 with as big an advantage in drawing districts as they’ve ever had. Many vulnerable Republicans will find themselves running in more favorable districts, while the party can expect to benefit from newly-created districts designed to their advantage.
Republicans fully control redistricting in 15 states, including the battlegrounds of Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. They control the mapmaking for 193 House districts, compared to 44 for the Democrats.
Republican State Legislative Committee Executive Director Chris Jankowski estimated the GOP will gain between 25 and 30 additional House seats from the reapportionment and redistricting process alone, a number that makes it all the more difficult for Democrats to win back the seats necessary to retake the majority. Republicans already are slated to hold between 241 and 244 seats in the new Congress, their largest majority since 1946.
Put another way, Democrats couldn’t have picked a worse year to take a beating in state legislatures and governorships. Even if President Obama wins a second term in two years, Democrats would need a tidal wave to overcome the combined strength of redistricting and the Republicans’ decent majority in the U.S. House.
There’s an equally dismal picture in the U.S. Senate. As the Journal reports, 23 Democratic-held seats are up for grabs in ’12 compared to 10 Republican seats.