After the 2010 Census, reapportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives had a generally positive impact on Mitt Romney’s prospects this fall.
The presidency is, after all, won in the Electoral College — and each state’s vote is based on its number of senators, two for each state, and representatives, based on population.
In The Washington Post, analyst Chris Cillizza compared Romney’s admittedly “narrow” path to an Electoral College majority. Narrow, because most of the biggest states — California, New York, Illinois — are safely Democratic in presidential elections.
Only Texas, with 38 electoral votes, is reliably Republican. But as part of the reapportionment driven by the 2010 Census, Texas grew by four House seats.
Of the reliably Republican states, Louisiana was one of the few to lose a House seat, and is thus down to eight electoral votes, for six House members and two senators.
The conventional wisdom is that President Barack Obama has an edge as the campaign begins, because of the nature of the Electoral College tilt to Democrats in the big states.
But Cillizza compared the Romney course to the nomination with George W. Bush’s win in 2000, just 271 electoral votes, one more than the needed 270.
“In eking out that victory, Bush not only carried the South and Plains states with a near sweep but also claimed wins in swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, Missouri and the major electoral-vote prizes of Ohio and Florida,” he said. “If Romney was able to duplicate Bush’s 2000 map, he would take 285 electoral votes — thanks to redistricting gains over the past decade.”
Those gains have generally accrued to the Republicans, in other words. If Romney is able to upset an incumbent president, the population shifts revealed in the census are part of the reason.