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The Gerrymanderers Are Coming! Legislative Redistricting Won't Affect Competition or Polarization Much, No Matter Who Does It

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2012

Seth E. Masket
University of Denver
Jonathan Winburn
University of Mississippi
Gerald C. Wright
Indiana University


Redistricting received substantial attention in the popular media in 2011, as states redrew state legislative and congressional district boundaries. Many reformers continue to argue for a de-politicization of the redistricting process, claiming that partisan redistricting is responsible for declining electoral competition and increasing legislative polarization. Our analysis of evidence from state legislatures during the last decade suggests that the effects of partisan redistricting on competition and polarization are small, considerably more nuanced than reformers would suggest, and overwhelmed by other aspects of the political environment.

Copyright © American Political Science Association 2012

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