Arkansas Redistricting: New Pres Numbers by CD

Arkansas rounds out the first batch (along with Iowa and Louisiana) of states finishing their redistricting tasks, so we’ve crunched the data to see how the last few elections went in the newly-designed districts. (If you’re unfamiliar with the new map, which wound up without the infamous “Fayetteville Finger,” you can take a gander here.)

District Obama # McCain # Obama % McCain % Beebe % Keet % Lincoln % Boozman %
AR-01 102,670 151,918 39.17 57.96 67.68 30.32 42.29 52.34
AR-02 129,888 157,732 44.29 53.79 66.06 32.28 42.02 53.77
AR-03 85,866 161,902 33.86 63.85 57.84 39.93 26.01 68.32
AR-04 103,886 166,465 37.41 59.95 65.54 32.52 36.49 58.07

Unlike last decade’s map (which placed in Arkansas in the company of only Iowa and West Virginia in keeping every county intact), the new Arkansas map splits several counties down the middle, making this a more difficult task than Iowa (and more difficult than Louisiana, which seems to have more useful data). Jeffmd’s data crunching involved not only some estimation of how to allocate absentee ballots, but also some approximation of Sebastian County (i.e Fort Smith, now split between the 3rd and 4th) votes, which aren’t listed by precinct but rather by polling location, meaning rather tediously mapping the county and pinpointing polling places. (You can check out the full spreadsheet here.)

Despite controlling the redistricting trifecta here (the Gov. plus both legislative chambers), it doesn’t seem like Arkansas Dems did much to advance their cause here, leaving the numbers pretty much as is, despite shifting around a lot of counties (especially in the dark-red northwest, where there’s now an unsightly bulge of the 4th into the former 3rd). The old districts were 38 Obama/59 McCain in AR-01, 44/54 in AR-02, 34/64 in AR-03, and 39/58 in AR-04… hardly any change at all, although the 1st improved very slightly at the expense of the 4th. If there was any consideration given to either improving Dem chances at picking up the 2nd or strengthening the 4th in the event of a Mike Ross retirement, it didn’t pan out.

30 thoughts on “Arkansas Redistricting: New Pres Numbers by CD”

  1. I cannot believe democrats passed such a stupid plan. This is a 4R to 0D map once mike ross retires. They should have tried to go for 2 winnable districts instead of being greedy and creating 4 districts they cannot win. Maybe they can win the 2nd district back, but that’s about it. What morons!

    1. My point was that a guaranteed 3-1 is still better than the 4-0 low point that the Dems have very likely handed the GOP by keeping the current districts as they are.

      Maybe after Obama is out of office, AR Dems can recover somewhat at the Federal level. For now, I can’t be optimistic.  

  2. The State Legislature is helping to draw an aggressive Dem gerrymander of their chambers.  This won’t be nearly as controversial since it is approved by a majority decision of three statewide offices (Gov, A-G, and SoS).  And since SoS Martin (the sole Republican) is such a corrupt dick, the Gov and A-G are wisely working around him.

  3. That is exactly what the reasoning was. They should have done it differently, but at least they can still compete in the 1st and the 2nd, maybe even the 4th if the candidate is right.

  4. Thinking back to 2008, I think Arkansas may have been the only state with actual PUMAs (ie real dems, as opposed to conservadems, that voted for McCain out of spite because of Hillary’s loss). That being said, given Arkansas’s political trends the 2008 results are probably do represent where Arkansas will soon be politically even if they’re a bit too pessimistic right now.

    Also… I have wondered about the motivation of Arkansas legislative Dems. Specifically, while they clearly would want to design districts with white conservadems  in mind, I was wondering whether they might be more concerned about creating districts where they would risk losing a primary to a liberal African-American candidate than about losing to the Republican in the general. I really don’t know if that is the case, but I certainly hope not.  

  5. and AR-02 will require top-notch recruitment.

    I’d say this map is 1-2-1.

    Also, the Dems are working on an agressive state legislative gerrymander in private.  That only needs to be passed by both the A-G and Governor approval.

  6. It has the strongest Dem tradition as you can see by the fact that Blanche Lincoln overperformed Obama there.  AR is probably going to be the next Kentucky (strong local and state gov’t Dem strength, but mostly GOP federally).

    If they really wanted to be morons, they would have passed the redistricting bill initially passed by the Senate, but the House killed that one fortunately.

  7. The 4th district will be somewhat tougher for Mike Ross to hold, but there isn’t any real chance of the 4th holding Democratic when Mike Ross runs for governor / retires in the future.

    The 1st and 2nd are some bizarre attempts at making two competitive seats using 2008 local election results, but since Arkansas will never have 2008 results as favorable to Democrats again, it is silly.

    How does this plan deviate significantly with a 4-0-0 Republican gerrymander?  

    This map will produce 4-0 results for Republicans eventually. It might take until 2014 or 2018, but it will.  

  8. I doubt anyone cares about the Arkansas Democratic Party’s majority in the state legislature right now.

  9. TheGradyDem said that if you want a better picture of where Dem strength lies, look at the 2010 Lt. Governor’s race.

    Obama/McCain statistics are very misleading, sort of like in WV.

  10. is because then that means in a decade we get another shot to get this right.  Assuming the Democratic Party still exists in Arkansas, that is.

  11. AR-01 now has augmented local Dem strength.  AR-02 is marginally better, but it depends on who wins the Dem primary.  AR-04 would have been better with the “Fayetteville to the 4th”, but its local tradition of always being in a NW district made the proposal very controversial.

  12. Local politics spills over into federal in Arkansas sometimes. Those state level races show exactly where the right Democrat can win, even for Congress.

  13. If you look at Kentucky and West Virginia, state election results are better indications of downballot Federal election results than Presidential toplines. Particularly in instances of competitive or open-seat races.  

  14. Is not going to look at recent federal performance when he decides what precincts to contest. (that would net him in the low 40s).

    In looking at statewide races, Pryor knows which will support the right type of Democrat and which will not support one at all.  

  15. frothing at the mouth/overreacting to this plan. While I wish Fayetteville, (or downtown Fort Smith), had been included in the 4th rather than such Republican territory, over I think the map is pretty good. The 2nd is going to be very tough for us to win, even though it’s numbers are deceptively strong for Democrats.

  16. AR-01=CT-04

    It is a very historically Democratic seat, but unless Crawford royally screws up and neglects local concerns, I don’t see it flipping back, especially with Obama on the ballot. Maybe in an off year, or maybe if Hillary Clinton is the Dem nominee in 2016 and she carries Arkansas. But otherwise, I think Arkansas is moving too quickly from Democrats for this district to flip, just as Connecticut has become so solidly blue that the GOP couldn’t take back historically Republican CT-04 last year with a good candidate.

  17. He was a State Senator, and raised plenty of money, but there were two issues. One, he was from blue collar Dansbury which is not like the rest of the district politically and socially, and two, the guy was pretty much a teabagger and CT-04 is about the worst district you could try and pull that kind of act in.

    AR-01 is more like PA-04 in my opinion. Patrick Murphy was a good candidate and able to win it and hold onto it in a good cycle, but in a bad cycle for his party it went back to its historical roots. What’s more is the Rick Crawford is a nincompoop, to put it colloquially. The guy is a poor fundraiser, and from what I’ve seen of him, not ready for the long-term political limelight.  

  18. It’s a big misconception to think it takes screwing up for an incumbent to lose, accept in situations of super safe seats. There is a big bench of Democrats in that district and most of them would be a better fit than Crawford.

  19. The red trend is real but Obama being such a terrible fit for the state may be exacerbating it. We probably won’t get a clear picture until 2016 at the earliest.

  20. they could’ve drawn a Little Rock district that also took in most of the majority-black border counties. AR-02 is already the least Republican district in the state. Get rid of Griffin, let the 4th slide inevitably beneath the red tide forever once Ross quits, and make Crawford very happy – but at least have one district we can usually win, as in Alabama and Mississippi.  

    Of course, that plan might’ve run afoul of the same “regional community of interest” traditions as the whole Fayetteville finger controversy. There’s probably a lot more about local provincial bugaboos than we out of staters understand going on here.  

  21. better than that. As someone who lived in Little Rock for a few years, and has family living in Fayetteville, I’d say it’s seriously ignorant of the state to think a 3-1 Republican map is a good idea for Democrats to draw or the best that they can do.  

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