New Census Numbers Alter the Political Landscape

The U.S. Census Bureau has released new data with political consequences for elected officials across the country. The data collection, which happens just once every 10 years, tallies population totals in each state. Among other things, the data is used to add or subtract how many seats each state is allotted in the House of Representatives. The "winners" in this apportionment include Texas with four seats, Florida with two, and Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, among others, with one. New York and Ohio each lost two seats, while Illinois, Iowa and Massachusetts each lost one. Due to fluctuations in population totals, reapportionment almost always results in seat gains for some states while others lose.

Following significant losses in the midterm elections for House Democrats, its not surprising to find much of the redistricting represents a move towards Republican states. Sean Trende, Senior Elections Analyst at Real Clear Politics tells Fox News he sees this recent round of redistricting largely as win for the GOP, at least at the Presidential level. Trende says there's "definitely been a shift from blue to red states" and that "Republicans will now control redistricting in over 200 seats, twice as many as they controlled the last time around." Trende says voters can expect things to get especially tense in states that have lost seats, in scenarios where sitting members of Congress may have to run against one another because districts have been altered.

When asked about places like Louisiana, where census numbers reflect a massive drop in population since Hurricane Katrina, Trende said that despite the Voting Rights Act, which mandates each state must have at least one Representative, that fewer numbers, whatever the reason, do translate into less attention paid by elected officials and reduced federal funding.

The number of seats in the House is fixed at 435, so redistricting has often lead to turf battles when population totals shift. Further complicating the matter is the issue of illegal immigrants, who are presumed to be counted in the census tallies that determine redistricting.