Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Republican Indianapolis Council Map Prevails at the Indiana Supreme Court; However, GOP Unlikely to Win at Polls With Brooks-Drawn Districts

Today in a unanimous decision, the Indiana Supreme Court upheld the maps draw by the Indianapolis Council in 2011 and signed by the Mayor Ballard on January 1, 2012.  The Court seemed reluctant to tackle the legal issue whether this satisfied the statutory requirement that the districts be redrawn by the council in the second year after the census (which would be 2012), and instead focused on judicial reluctance to take over the job of drawing maps for legislative bodies.

But while Republicans prevailed in court, there is a surprise awaiting them.  Although GOP operative David Brooks drew districts that are supposed to favor the Republican Party, a review of recent election results reveal that the Brooks-drawn maps actually favor the Democrats and significantly so.

Brooks drew a 15-10 Republican majority in order to sustain the likelihood of the Democrats winning all four at-large seats.  After the Brooks' map was drawn, the General Assembly eliminated the at-large seats.

However, when I studied the 2012 baselines in the GOP-drawn map, I did not see the Republicans winning 15 districts, not even close.  In column two is the 2010 GOP baseline numbers used by Brooks. (Due to reprecincting between 2010 and 2012, I couldn't confirm those 2010 district numbers.)  The third column is my analysis using 2012 baseline numbers.  The fourth column is my analysis of the district, i.e. strongly, moderately or leaning Democrat or Republican.

Granted it is not an apples to apples comparison. The 2012 numbers feature higher turnout than 2010 and higher turnout in Marion County typically favors Democrats.  But even taking that into consideration as well as the even lower turnout in a municipal election, it would not appear the numbers would move dramatically enough to give Republicans a majority of the 25 seats.

Only 8 of the 25 districts had a majority Republican baseline in 2012. The Republicans have to win all eight of those districts (and four of those are just barely leaning Republican) and five more majority Democratic districts. But there is only one leaning Democratic district and three moderately Democratic districts.  A strongly Democratic district would also have to flip to the Republicans.  The best candidates for that possibility are districts 16, 19, and 21, districts that appeared to have moved by an amazing 18-20 points in the Democrats' direction between 2010 and 2012. Of course, that assumes the Brooks' 2010 baseline numbers are accurate.
Dist 2010 GOP Pct 2012 GOP Pct Partisan Outlook
1 41.8 35.31 SD
2 51.98 48.85 LD
3 55.12 50.38 LR
4 57.37 51.47 LR
5 55.57 50.71 LR
6 52.38 43.37 MD
7 20.91 19.45 SD
8 23.98 19.53 SD
9 16.45 14.78 SD
10 22.35 17.75 SD
11 15.48 15.36 SD
12 42.42 33.96 SD
13 17.96 13.12 SD
14 23.25 16.29 SD
15 55.85 45.30 MD
16 51.55 41.20 SD
17 18.08 15.39 SD
18 60.82 52.36 LR
19 52.09 43.61 SD
20 65.79 59.12 SR
21 50.43 42.48 SD
22 55.69 44.75 MD
23 65.65 60.13 SR
24 64.18 58.87 SR
25 70.28 66.18 SR

Even though the Republicans ended up with the map they wanted, it doesn't appear they have much of a chance of winning a majority on the council in the 2015 municipal elections.

1 comment:

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