In contemporary Florida, partisans are arranged in geographic space in such a way that virtually any districting scheme favoring contiguity and compactness will generate substantial electoral bias in favor of the Republican Party. This result is driven largely by the partisan asymmetry in voters’ residential patterns: Since the realignment of the party system, Democrats have tended to live in dense, homogeneous neighborhoods that aggregate into landslide Democratic districts, while Republicans live in more sparsely populated neighborhoods that aggregate into geographically larger and more politically heterogeneous districts. This phenomenon appears to substantially explain the pro-Republican bias observed in Florida’s recent legislative elections.
Andrew Gelman who posted Rodden and Chen’s white paper on the must-read 538.com, goes on to ask: Maybe multimember districts would be a way to balance the playing field. Is this a proposal that Democrats in Florida (or elsewhere) should be making?