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Kaminski Policy Paper Final

Kaminski Policy Paper Final

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Published by Sara Kaminski
For those of you dying to read my award-winning policy paper, here you go.
For those of you dying to read my award-winning policy paper, here you go.

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Published by: Sara Kaminski on Sep 09, 2010
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09/09/2010

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THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITYJOHN GLENN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
DOES REDISTRICTING BOARD TYPE MATTER?
 
A QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN REDISTRICTINGBOARD TYPE AND STATE LEGISLATIVE ELECTORAL OUTCOMES IN FOUR STATES
 
(1968-2003)
 
BySara KaminskiA policy/management paper submitted in partial fulfillment for theMaster of Public Administration DegreeAutumn, 2009
 
 
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Executive Summary
Forty-five of the 50 U.S. states employ a partisan redistricting board, meaning that one political party controls the process by which legislative districts are drawn. Political scholars agree thatthis kind of partisan process has led to the use of gerrymandering, which in turn has led touncompetitive elections. Five states have changed their redistricting board from partisan to bipartisan with the desire to create more competitive elections that reflect the will of the peopleinstead of the manipulation of a political party. However, little research has been done to testwhether a bipartisan redistricting board makes a difference in regards to state legislative electoraloutcomes. Before more states decide to switch their redistricting board from a partisan to bipartisan one, lawmakers should consider the results of this research.This paper attempts to help fill in the gaps in redistricting literature by using four states ± Ohio, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington ± to explore whether the change from partisan to bipartisan board has increased electoral competition in terms of candidate margin of victory and probability of incumbent re-election. Regression analyses were used to test for these dependentvariables for all four states together, and then the states were broken out into two case studies based upon population sizes. Each case study compared a state with partisan redistricting to asimilar state with bipartisan redistricting, with the hypothesis that in both cases, the state with bipartisan redistricting would have lower margins of victory and lower probability of incumbentre-election. Ohio (partisan) and New Jersey (bipartisan) represented the large population states,while Oregon (partisan) and Washington (bipartisan) represented the small population states.The breakdown was used to account for any differences that may exist between large and small population states and helps to assuage the potential problem of the large states weighting results.After estimating regressions, it is unclear what kind of effects that changing from a partisan to bipartisan redistricting board has on the aforementioned electoral outcomes. For the regressionsexamining all four states together, margins of victory were lower in states with bipartisanredistricting boards, but the results for probability of incumbent re-election were statisticallyinsignificant. In the breakdown for large and small states, margins of victory were lower instates with bipartisan boards in both cases, but the result was only valid for the large state case.Incumbent re-election probability also had mixed results. The bipartisan state in the large statecase study actually had a higher re-election probability, while the bipartisan state in the smallstate case study had a lower re-election probability as hypothesized. It may be the case that bipartisan redistricting boards simply create an equal number of safe districts for the two major  political parties.Even though this study was imperfect due to a dataset lacking control variables, it does call intoquestion whether changing from a partisan to bipartisan redistricting board has the intendedeffects. It is probable that there are other variables causing uncompetitive elections, such asmoney raised and spent by the candidates, which act in concert with redistricting methods. Itwould be beneficial for future researchers to gather more data that would help account for election results. As state officials across the country continue to consider the future of redistricting processes in their states, they should reassess what goals they are trying to achievewith potential reform, as changing redistricting board may not be the sole key to creatingelectoral competition.
 
 
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able of Contents
Executive Summary«««««««..............««««.«««««««««««««««..2Acknowledgements««««««««««««.««««««««««««««««««4Introduction«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««.5Review of the Relevant Literature««««««««««««««««««««««««...7Data««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««10Methodology««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««..13Results«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««15Conclusions & Recommendations««««««««««««««««««««««««.21References«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««..25Appendix A«««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««««26

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