Sunday, May 08, 2011

Michigan Redistricting: State House Part IV: The Rest of the State

The three parts of my analysis of redistricting the Michigan state house focused on southeastern Michigan. This final part finishes the rest of the state.
Michigan Redistricting: State House Part I: Wayne County
Michigan Redistricting: State House Part II: Oakland and Genesee
Michigan Redistricting: State House Part III: Macomb and the Thumb

See the current map here: MICHIGAN'S 110 HOUSE DISTRICTS

Let’s look at the map first and then see where it came from.



The new map must of course account for population shifts in the state. We have already seen that Wayne lost 240000 people, and hence will lose 3 state representatives. Other losses include 10000 each from Genesee and Saginaw. There were smaller losses in the Upper Peninsula, the Thumb, and the Sunrise Coast.

The biggest gain was in Macomb with 53000. Other major gains include Kent with 28000, Ottawa with 25000, Washtenaw with 22000, Livingston with 14000, Kalamazoo with 12000, and Clinton with 11000. Smaller gains were scattered around western and southern Michigan.

It is tricky to say which districts are ‘new’, since each new district is made up of parts of old districts. But we can say definitely which regions gained districts. One went to Kent/Ottawa/Muskegon/Allegan/Kalamazoo, one went to Washtenaw/Monroe/Lenawee/Jackson/Eaton, and one went to a region containing Macomb and the north-central Lower Peninsula. The districts that I designated as ‘new’ (21-23) are in S Kent/NE Allegan, Ann Arbor suburbs, and Port Huron/N Macomb.

The first article above contains the basics on the rules that any map must follow. As before, we want to minimize county and city/township breaks. Hence when a county can contain some number of districts without being broken, it is usually a good idea to implement this. In this map, such counties are:

1 district: Lapeer, Grand Traverse
2 districts: Livingston, Muskegon
3 districts: Ingham, Ottawa
4 districts: Washtenaw
20 districts: Wayne

These areas can be dealt with separately.

SPECIFIC COUNTIES

Drawing districts in Ingham is tricky because there appear to be several discontiguous precincts. The only district in this county that is winnable for Republicans is the out-county district (67), although it has been held by Byrums all decade. It is possible to marginally improve this district while maintaining one city break (Lansing) by taking a different chunk of Lansing. If two breaks are allowed, it can be made nearly safe by excising Lansing and replacing it with a chuck of Meridian.


The question for Republicans in Washtenaw is whether to go for one safe seat or two marginal seats. This time, I went for the safe route. I created a new democrat seat (22) in the Ann Arbor suburbs. This takes the pressure off 52 and 55, which have been democrat as often as not. There is one break in Ann Arbor.


In Kent County it would be possible to have exactly seven districts by underpopulating them, but the smallest number of breaks that I could find in this scenario is four. However, if Kent and Allegan combine for eight districts, it is possible to avoid any city/township breaks.


This depends on breaking Grand Rapids into exactly two districts, which are which are very near the upper threshold. I tried to create a Grand Rapids district friendly to Republicans. The new 75 is better than its current incarnation, but I wouldn’t rate it any better than a tossup. This is pushing it a bit with respect to clean city breaks. District 76 is near minority-majority.


In the Kalamazoo/Calhoun area, several improvements are possible. Due to population growth, Kalamazoo and Calhoun cannot combine solely. Adding VanBuren with these counties allows them to share five districts. Kalamazoo city and most of K Township combine for one safe dem district (60). (This does not count as a break due to Apol standard C8B.) This makes district 61 safe.

District 62 is a swing district dominated by Battle Creek. Improving it requires stripping out Albion, its only other dem area. Albion has to go to district 63 (Jase Bolger’s district), making it a bit weaker, but still safe. Would the Speaker accept this for the good of the party?

District 80 loses a chunk of Allegan and adds the southern tier of Kalamazoo.


Now let’s zoom out and look at the statewide map. Many shifts are necessary to account for population changes. Some can also help Republicans. Dividing Cass differently (adding Dowagiac to 59) makes 78 safer. Shifting Ionia city to 87 helps 70 a bit.

The northeastern Lower Peninsula is carved up in a way that should be an improvement. District 105 adds the dem area of Presque Isle, but is still safe. District 106 takes in more of the Lake Huron coastline, but is no worse than before. The new 97, anchored by Missaukee and N Midland, is improved. The new 103, with Kalkaska and Otsego, is also improved.

BREAKS, POPULATION, AND VOTING RIGHTS

Overall, this map breaks 22 counties, including three double breaks (St. Clair, Jackson, Kalamazoo). The current map breaks 23 counties with two double breaks (St. Clair, Ottawa).

This map also breaks 13 cities/townships, including breaking Detroit four ways and two double breaks (Sterling Heights, Clinton Twp). These breaks are in Wayne (5/8), Macomb (3/5), Oakland (2), Flint, Ann Arbor, and Lansing. The current map breaks 17 cities/townships, including a triple break for Detroit. These breaks are in Wayne (6/8), Macomb (4), Oakland (2), Genesee (2), Ann Arbor, Lansing, and Grand Rapids.

The smallest district population is 85324 (district 92), which is just outside what is allowed and needs to be adjusted, perhaps by adding another break. Otherwise the smallest is 85396 (89). The largest district population is 94304 (93).

There are 10 black-majority districts, down two from the current map due to population loss in Detroit. The number of black-majority districts could be increased by adding more breaks around Detroit, as seen in Part I.

DISTRICT DESCRIPTIONS

22. Safe D [Scio, Pittsfield, NE Ann Arbor] (new)
23. Safe R(++++) [S Kent, NE Allegan] (new)
47. Safe R [N Livingston]
52. Safe R(+++) [W Washtenaw]
53. Safe D [Ann Arbor]
54. Safe D [Ypsilanti]
55. Lean R(+) [S Monroe, E Lenawee]
56. Tossup [N Monroe]
57. Tossup [W Lenawee]
58. Safe R [Branch, Hillsdale]
59. Safe R [St. Joseph, N Cass]
60. Safe D [Kalamazoo]
61. Safe R(+) [Portage, Oshtemo, Texas]
62. Lean R(+) [S Calhoun]
63. Safe R [E Kalamazoo, N Calhoun]
64. Tossup [S Jackson]
65. Lean R [N Jackson, E Eaton]
66. Safe R [SE Livingston]
67. Lean R(+) [S Ingham]
68. Safe D [Lansing]
69. Safe D [East Lansing, Meridian]
70. Lean R [Montcalm, E Ionia]
71. Lean R [Eaton]
72. Safe R [Kentwood, Lowell]
73. Safe R [Walker, Plainfield, Alpine]
74. Safe R [Jenison, SE Ottowa]
75. Tossup [peripheral Grand Rapids]
76. Safe D [central Grand Rapids]
77. Safe R [Wyoming, Grandville]
78. Safe R(+) [S Berrien, SW Cass]
79. Safe R [N Berrien]
80. Safe R [VanBuren, S Kalamazoo]
82. Safe R [Lapeer]
84. Safe R(+) [Tuscola, E Saginaw, E Bay]
85. Safe R(+) [Shiawassee, St. Johns]
86. Safe R [Grand Rapids Twp, N Kent]
87. Safe R [Barry, W Ionia]
88. Safe R [Allegan]
89. Safe R [N Ottowa]
90. Safe R [Holland]
91. Lean R [S, W Muskegon]
92. Safe D [Muskegon city]
93. Safe R [Gratiot, S Clinton]
94. Safe R [W Saginaw]
95. Safe D [Saginaw city]
96. Safe D [Bay]
97. Safe R(+) [Missaukee, Roscommon, Gladwin, N Midland]
98. Safe R [S Midland, E Isabella]
99. Lean R [Mecosta, Mount Pleasant]
100. Safe R [Newaygo, Oceana, Lake]
101. Lean R [Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee, Mason]
102. Safe R [Wexford, Osceola, Clare]
103. Lean R(+) [Kalkaska, Otsego, Crawford, Oscoda, Ogemaw]
104. Safe R [Grand Traverse]
105. Safe R [Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Presque Isle]
106. Lean D [Alpena, Alcona, Montmorency, Iosco, Arenac]
107. Lean R [Emmet, Mackinac, Chippewa]
108. Lean R [Delta, Menominee, Dickinson]
109. Safe D [Marquette, Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce]
110. Lean D [W Upper Peninsula]

DISTRICT RATINGS

Rating: SR/LR/TU/LD/SD
Old……. 24 / 13 / 8 / 3 / 10
New…… 31 / 12 / 4 / 2 / 11

Combined with the ratings for southeast Michigan, we have the following.

Rating: SR/LR/TU/LD/SD
Old……. 35 / 18 / 12 / 4 / 41
New…… 45 / 19 / _5 / 2 / 39

Thus this map is a definite improvement over the existing map. This is due mainly to population shifts, but also to careful line-drawing. Still, the map is not completely safe for Republicans. It would still have produced a democrat majority in a wave election like 2008.

There are two reasons for this. First, state house elections are held in presidential election years, which are friendlier to democrats, as well as off years. State senate elections are only held in off years. Second, districts the size of house districts appear less easy to manipulate than districts the size of senate or congressional districts. It does not appear to be possible to make a totally safe house map absent massive gerrymandering.

This map should give Republicans a majority in good or average years, which makes it good in my book.

Previous articles on Michigan redistricting:
Michigan Congressional Redistricting: Two Possible Maps
Michigan Redistricting: Two Possible State Senate Maps
Michigan Redistricting: State House Part I: Wayne County
Michigan Redistricting: State House Part II: Oakland and Genesee
Michigan Redistricting: State House Part III: Macomb and the Thumb

8 comments:

designated conservative said...

Your proposed Washtenaw Co. district map is an absolute disaster for republicans. I am amazed to see that you've managed to put the two sitting GOP state reps (54th and 55th districts) in the same district AND also included the 2010 republican nominee for a third current district (54th) as well.

The last thing we need is "one safe" gerrymandered GOP seat. Conservatives fought for and won two of the four current state House seats that serve Washtenaw Co. - the very last thing this designated consertvative would want to see is a retrenchment! This map wildly favors Democrats over republicans and should be discarded ASAP....

If you are going to propose a state House district map for Washtenaw Co., it should include two 50/50 swing districts for the two current GOP officeholders.

Conservative First said...

I'm not sure if two 50-50 districts is possible. 55 is maybe 50-50 now, but 52 is worse. In the best Republican year in memory with a strong candidate for an open seat, Ouimet got 52%. I'm not optimistic about holding this one in its current form.

I didn't look at residences when drawing the map. Olsen could run in the new 55, if he moved.

If you don't like my map feel free to try your hand at it. I'd love to see what you come up with.

Rodney said...

Washtenaw Co. is a place where your district boundaries can and in some cases should "cross the line." The southern tier of Saline/York/Augusta townships and City of Milan are more closely connected to their southern neighbors than to Ann Arbor.

In the same way, western Wayne and eastern Washtenaw county communities are more closely related than either is to their in-county neighbors - as are Salem and Northfield townships with their adjoining communities to the north in Oakland Co.

Most certainly it makes no sense to include Salem and Augusta in a new western Washtenaw dominated district.

I suggest that, as goofy as it was, it would be far better to leave Rick Olson's 55th district arrangement as close to it's current form as possible. The last thing we need is to put all of our strong GOP officeholders and nominees in the same district!

Rodney said...

BTW, Mr. Ouimet was no "strong candidate." He was a tireless campaigner, but needed every bit of goodwill he earned door-to-door to come back from his mostly self-created county per diem mess.

50% +1 districts for Ouimet and Olson are far better than handing back one of our House seats to Ann Arbor Democrats without firing a shot in the 2012 election!

designated conservative said...

Not to keep picking on you or anything, but you may not be fully aware of just how much of a watershed change occurred in Washtenaw Co. in 2010.

Republicans picked up 50% of the state House seats serving the county, going from 0 out of 4 to 2 out of 4. Republican Dan Smith, virtually unknown before entering the race, defeated a long-serving Democrat incumbent to pick up a third county commission seat for the GOP.

Despite holding only one seat out of five on the county redistricting committee, the county GOP successfully fought for passage of a county commission map that preserves and solidifies the 2010 GOP win while actually pitting longtime Democrats in two districts against strong GOP or primary opponents for 2012.

However, the most important reason why your map creating only one "safe" GOP state House district is a lousy idea is that Rick Olson is a great insurgent campaigner - he won that 55th district race with little state party support until near the very end. Furthermore, he won with far less financial support than Mr. Ouimet.

Conservative First said...

Thanks for the local perspective.

Republicans currently hold about 1.5/3.5 (~43%) of the house districts covering Washtenaw, so 50% would require all of their current territory plus some democrat territory (Salem and Augusta seem like the best options).

Why did the 'watershed' occur? My impression is that Snyder being from Washtenaw helped. If there are other factors I'm unaware of, let me know. It would be nice to think that this watershed will be permanent, but it probably won't be. In 2012, Obama will be on the ballot and liberals will probably turn out big.

Based on history, I don't think that 52 is holdable in its current form. I checked and it is possible to divide 52 and the new district into two swing/lean dem districts, but that means risking losing both of them. I don't think the risk is worth it, but I appreciate your opinion.

designated conservative said...

Snyder had little to do with the wins in the 52nd and 55th. The best evidence of that was the result in his own 54th district, where Snyder received 13,500 votes while the GOP state rep candidate barely cleared 9,000 votes (the Dem in this 70/30 Dem district didn't scrape up 17,000 votes, which is remarkably low.

The difference in Washtenaw County is the Tea Party movement, which fielded active and competitive conservative GOP candidates in local and county races, as well as in the 53rd and 54th "safe Dem" districts.

These same Tea Party groups are currently contesting City Council races in the People's Republic of Ann Arbor this year. I have no doubt that this army of designated conservatives will be out early and often for GOP candidates in 2012.

...and they will have an even greater impact than in 2010.

Don't go for the one safe GOP seat - we can keep both of the one's we took back in 2010, and we will make the Democrats fight to keep the 54th in the Ypsilanti area as well.

designated conservative said...

The Washtenaw County Tea Party groups and re-energized county republican party will be out and about at the doors, in the newspaper, on the social networks, in the parades, likely far more even than 2010.

In my personal opinion, I think the GOP may even have a shot at adding to the number of county offices in GOP hands, while keeping the seats held or gained in 2010.

Don't count Ann Arbor out, and whatever you do don't give back what we gained without a fight!