Republicans punch above their weight compared to presidential results in more places than Democrats.
KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE
— We analyzed 48 states to see which have the most lopsided state Senate and state House chambers compared to how the state voted for president.
— Both parties have some states in which the legislative breakdown significantly exaggerates the patterns of the presidential vote.
— For Democrats, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Massachusetts have the most “excess seats” above the presidential vote threshold. For Republicans, the list is both longer and more varied, with Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin standing out as at least somewhat competitive states where the Republicans have large excess seat advantages.
— In all, Republicans have proven much more adept than Democrats at leveraging presidential vote patterns into even larger majorities in state legislative chambers. The GOP has achieved significant levels of excess seats in about three times as many states as the Democrats have.
— Gerrymandering is one reason for this, but it probably doesn’t explain the exaggerated legislative majorities in many states. Rather, the phenomenon of excess seats appears to be a natural consequence of minority parties being doomed into irrelevance once they start consistently losing presidential and statewide races, sapping their ability to recruit candidates and build party infrastructure.