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Malapportionment, Gerrymandering, and Party Fortunes in Congressional Elections


  • Erikson, Robert S.


This paper explores the relationship between the partisan division of the northern vote in U.S. House elections and the partisan division of northern House seats. From at least 1952 through 1964, there was a noticeable pro-Republican bias to northern districting, in the sense that the Republicans consistently won about ten per cent more of the seats than the Democrats could obtain from the same percentage of the vote. Following the 1964 election, this partisan inequity has disappeared, but the evidence suggests that this change is only temporary. The normal pattern of a Republican advantage in northern House elections is produced by a Republican gerrymander of accidental origins: the tendency of Democratic voters to cluster in heavily Democratic areas where their votes for Congress go “wasted.†Neither malapportionment nor deliberate partisan gerrymandering appears to have played a major role in distorting the outcomes of House elections.

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  • Erikson, Robert S., 1972. "Malapportionment, Gerrymandering, and Party Fortunes in Congressional Elections," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(4), pages 1234-1245, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:66:y:1972:i:04:p:1234-1245_14

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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Chacon & Jeffrey Jensen, 2017. "The Institutional Determinants of Southern Secession," Working Papers 20170001, New York University Abu Dhabi, Department of Social Science, revised Mar 2017.
    2. Kenneth Benoit & Michael Marsh, 2008. "The Campaign Value of Incumbency: A New Solution to the Puzzle of Less Effective Incumbent Spending," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(4), pages 874-890, October.
    3. Larry Samuelson, 1984. "Electoral equilibria with restricted strategies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 307-327, January.
    4. Yogesh Uppal, 2010. "Estimating Incumbency Effects In U.S. State Legislatures: A Quasi‐Experimental Study," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(2), pages 180-199, July.
    5. J. Zachary Klingensmith, 2019. "Using tax dollars for re-election: the impact of pork-barrel spending on electoral success," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 31-49, March.
    6. Robi Ragan, 2013. "Institutional sources of policy bias: A computational investigation," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 25(4), pages 467-491, October.
    7. Mario Chacón & Jeffrey Jensen, 2017. "The institutional determinants of Southern secession," Working Papers 2017/16, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    8. Benjamin Highton, 2011. "The influence of strategic retirement on the incumbency advantage in US House elections," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 23(4), pages 431-447, October.
    9. Castro, Vítor & Martins, Rodrigo, 2013. "Is there duration dependence in Portuguese local governments' tenure?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 26-39.
    10. Shigeo Hirano & James M. Snyder, Jr., 2009. "Using Multimember District Elections to Estimate the Sources of the Incumbency Advantage," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 53(2), pages 292-306, April.
    11. Matthew P. Dube & Jesse T. Clark & Richard J. Powell, 2022. "Graphical metrics for analyzing district maps," Journal of Computational Social Science, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 449-475, May.
    12. Peter Bönisch & Benny Geys & Claus Michelsen, 2015. "David and Goliath in the Poll Booth: Group Size, Voting Power and Voter Turnout," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1491, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9624.
    14. Eduardo Álvarez-Miranda & Camilo Campos-Valdés & Maurcio Morales Quiroga & Matías Moreno-Faguett & Jordi Pereira, 2020. "A Multi-Criteria Pen for Drawing Fair Districts: When Democratic and Demographic Fairness Matter," Mathematics, MDPI, vol. 8(9), pages 1-26, August.
    15. Fernanda Herrera, 2021. "Partisan affect and political outsiders," Papers 2108.05943,
    16. Glenn Parker, 1989. "Looking beyond reelection: Revising assumptions about the factors motivating congressional behavior," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(3), pages 237-252, December.
    17. Simons Joseph & Mallinson Daniel J., 2015. "Party Control and Perverse Effects in Majority-Minority Districting: Replication Challenges When Using DW-NOMINATE," Statistics, Politics and Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1-2), pages 19-37, December.
    18. Michael Bruter, 2019. "Electoral Ergonomics: Three Empirical Examples of the Interface between Electoral Psychology and Design," Societies, MDPI, vol. 9(4), pages 1-10, November.

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