Op-Ed: A big reason the South goes red? Gerrymandering and voter suppression
Editor’s Note: To get the best results from the 2012 campaign season, we asked experts about the 2012 U.S. congressional elections, including which districts and states they thought President Obama should target. The experts were Dr. Martin Gilens, Director of the University of Maryland’s Program on Public Opinion Research, and Dr. Mark R. Schleifenbaum, Professor of Political Science and Director of the University of Maryland Center for Public Opinion Research.
by Bob Fitrakis
When it comes to determining which districts and states will be competitive in the 2012 elections, elections experts have the hardest job—which state, which district?
It’s been almost a year since the Republican Party achieved complete control of the national government, yet the election results are still a work in progress—and a troubling one for those who believe America’s democracy will survive.
“We just finished doing a survey in Pennsylvania,” Professor Mark Schleifenbaum of the University of Maryland’s Program on Public Opinion Research told me recently. “We were really struck by how much the Pennsylvania election looked and felt like a presidential election. The results were very close. And it wasn’t a Democratic-versus-Republican race. It was two very strong Democratic candidates up against two very strong Republican candidates.”
And that means the winner of Pennsylvania’s U.S. House race, U.S. Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz, a Democrat, is going to be rewarded for her success in becoming the first woman to represent a congressional district since 1883.
“It does mean she represents a lot of voters in the Philadelphia area who are very unhappy, and disappointed, and perhaps discouraged, by the way in which their politicians treated them over the last eight years,” Professor Schleifenbaum said.
“That’s not just a Philadelphia story,” Schleifenbaum emphasized. “This is a story across the state. It’s not just a Philadelphia story. But there’s