Reapportionment and Its Potential Impact in 2012

by Bill O'Connell on November 8, 2010

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As is the case every ten years we take a census of the population of the United States, as required by the Constitution.  After the census is taken the seats in the House of Representatives are shuffled to accommodate for shifts in population between the states.

So what does this all mean?  In a previous post focusing on the Senate we showed that currently twenty-one Democrats and two independents who caucus (meet and generally vote with) the Democrats will be facing election in 2012 compared to only ten Republicans.  In the House, everyone is up for re-election every two years.  So after picking up 60 seats, or thereabouts as some races still haven’t been decided, where do the two parties start off as a result of reapportionment?  Although final numbers won’t be in until December, it doesn’t look good for the Democrats.


The Democrat strongholds remain on the East and West coasts and in the Rust Belt around the Great Lakes.  The Republican strongholds are the rest of the country.  The dismal economic policies of high taxation and bigger government, are taking their toll and here are a couple of examples.

Rush Limbaugh, perhaps the most hated man on the left, had a residence in New York and paid New York taxes.  On one of his programs he talked about getting out of the state to avoid the high taxation.  New York desperately depends on its wealthy citizens to fund the state and New York City government, particularly the Wall Street crowd.  Instead of trying to persuade Mr. Limbaugh to stay by pointing out the attractions of living in New York, officials tried to endear themselves to their left wing base by taunting him and daring him to leave.  Leave he did, taking his tax revenues with him.

If you look at the cost of renting a truck from U-Haul to move from Texas to California or vice versa, the rates are informative:

From Dallas to San Francisco: $734
From San Francisco to Dallas: $2,116

From Houston to Los Angeles: $706
From Los Angeles to Houston: $2,051

Any student of supply and demand will quickly see the message contained here.  The cost of a truck heading to Texas is nearly three times the cost of a truck going the other way.  Apparently, there are plenty of trucks available in Texas for those who want to move to California, but no one who wants to make that move.  Conversely, there are scant few trucks to help people get the hell out of California before it implodes, but plenty of people bidding the rental price of a truck up.

The Policies in Action

Now that we have touched on the Blue state policies, what is likely to happen?

Blue States – Net loss of seven seats

  • Massachusetts to lose one seat
  • New York to lose two seats
  • New Jersey to lose one seat
  • Pennsylvania to lose one seat
  • Michigan to lose one seat
  • Illinois to lose one seat
  • Iowa to lose one seat
  • Washington gain one seat

Toss Ups – Net gain of one seat

  • Ohio to lose two seats
  • Nevada to gain one seat
  • Florida to gain two seats

Red States – Net gain six seats

  • Missouri to lose one seat
  • Louisiana to lose one seat
  • South Carolina to gain one seat
  • Georgia to gain one seat
  • Texas to gain four seats
  • Arizona to gain one seat
  • Utah to gain one seat

If you look at the toss ups, categorized as such because they voted twice each in the last four Presidential elections for the Democrat and the Republican candidates, Florida is a key state.  Florida will gain two seats and at the same time it just elected a Republican governor and a Tea Party senate candidate Marco Rubio.  If they can pull Florida solidly into the Republican camp, that could mean another two seats for the Republicans.

So without a ballot being cast it looks pretty positive that the Republicans will start off the 2012 House election with a six to eight seat advantage on top of the sixty to sixty-five or so they just won. 

There is no certainty that this will play out along these lines.  After all the Democrats could flip several seats in their strongholds if all the Republicans grab those U-Haul trucks and head for friendlier, liberty loving states.  Conversely those freedom seeking migrants might move into districts that are now held by Democrats in the South and flip them to the Republican column. 

The key thing for the Republicans to have continued electoral success is to stick to what you ran on without any backsliding.  I can assure you that the Tea Party will either have your back or be breathing down your neck.  You pick

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