When voters in Virginia went to the polls in 2012, a narrow majority backed President Obama’s re-election bid, just as they’d done four years earlier. In a closely watched U.S. Senate race, the commonwealth’s voters also elected Sen. Tim Kaine (D) over former Sen. George Allen (R) by about six points. But just a little further down on the ballot is where things get tricky. If you add up all the votes case in each of Virginia’s U.S. House races, roughly 49% of Virginians voted for Democratic candidates, while about 51% supported Republican candidates. The state has 11 congressional districts, so if there was some kind of parallel between voter preferences and partisan results, we might expect to see five Democrats head to Congress from the state, along with six Republicans.
Except that’s not what happened. Of Virginia’s 11 U.S. House seats, Democrats ended up with three victories to the GOP’s eight. Dems may have won nearly 49% of the vote, but they also won about 27% of the representation.
This gap, while obviously discouraging to Democrats, was entirely predictable. After the 2010 Census, Virginia’s Republican-dominated state government carefully crafted a district map intended to maximize GOP victories. How? Step one, of course, was drawing lines in such a way as to keep as many African-American voters together as possible, effectively creating noncompetitive districts.
Full Article: Why the fate of Virginia’s congressional map matters | MSNBC.