The Determinants and Consequences of District Partisan Change and Intactness in the Congressional Redistricting Process: An Integrative Model

Richard Born


In this study of redistricting from 1992 to 2012, we develop an integrative path analysis model that links together the two parts of the congressional redistricting process: the impact of political and environmental antecedent variables on district partisan change and constituency intactness, and the subsequent impact that partisan chance and intactness have on incumbent reelection margin. Environmental factors, most notably the extent of a district’s overor under-population prior to redistricting, are found to ultimately make more difference on safety than does party control of the redistricting plan. Furthermore, the pathways extending through partisan change are more important for members’ reelection margin than are the pathways extending through intactness. Since members typically end up with a sizable share of new constituents, however, whereas a fairly even balance exists between districts left with pro-incumbent or anti-incumbent partisan change, the average member actually has somewhat more to fear from the former product of the redistricting process.

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