(h/t to Politicker's Colin Campbell for spotting some things in need of fixing.)
New York’s congressional maps solidified earlier this week and that meant the prognostication battle over which seats were competitive and how red or blue the congressional delegation would be next year got kicked off.
In the spirit of friendly, informed crystal ball gazing, the Empire reached out to the CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research for help number crunching and data visualizing. Thanks to the center’s Steve Romalewski and his amazing mapping staff, we’ve cobbled together a number of different pieces of data to get our best analysis of the coming battle for the US House here in New York. (Want to see where we got our figures from? A link to an spreadsheet with the data is at the end of this post.)
There are two things in particular we wanted to look at. First, which seats, based on the data, are the ones to watch this year. Second, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out a memo earlier this week that said “no such thing as a safe Republican seat in New York.” We thought it’d be fun to test that statement.
The answer, we found, was that at least three of New York’s new 27 districts where Republican have potentially a good shot based on the data--one of which is already held by a Republican--with two others leaning in the Republicans favor.
Overall we identified six districts that may be hotspots in the coming election. Two of them are currently held by Democrats.
The seat likely to stay in the R column is Congressman Richard Hanna who is expected to be on the ballot in NY-22. If you cross reference the enrollment data compiled by the state legislative task force, who were originally drawing the districts, with the lines drawn by the judge, Republican registration in NY-22 is some of the highest in the state at 41.3 percent. And the new district has a higher percentage of Republicans than Hanna’s current district. (See how Hanna's district has shifted here.)
If you look at the local votes for congress in the new district from 2008 and 2010, the new district would have voted for a Republican in both years (see the maps below--for info on the methodology click here). And in this district, Obama got 48.5 percent of the overall vote to McCain’s 48.6 percent. The DCCC, which only looks at the votes case for the two major party candidates, says Obama wins by a higher margin, 49.9 percent.
NY-11 – Michael Grimm (R)
NY-18 -- Nan Hayworth (R)
NY-19 -- Chris Gibson (R) -- See how Gibson's district has changed here.
NY-24 -- Ann Marie Buerkle (R)
But Congressional Republicans aren’t the only ones who may have concerns this election cycle.
The first is Congressman Bill Owens who is likely to run in the new NY-21. The new district has the highest Republican enrollment percentage in the state at 44.8 percent. That’s more than the 42.5 percent in Owens’ current district right now. And based on the 2008 and 2010 congressional voting pattern projections, a Republican would have been projected to take the new district in both years. (See how Owens' district has changed here.)
Then there’s the seat that’s more or less represented by Congresswoman Kathy Hochul (see how it's changed here). Under the new lines, she technically lives in the same district as Congressman Brian Higgins. Were she to run in the new NY-27 out in Western New York, she might not have the easiest of times:
There are a couple other races of note:
The biggest issue that will likely affect the outcomes in this year’s congressional elections will be the people at the top of the ticket. In a presidential year with an incumbent Democrat on the ballot in a Democratic state, there’s reason to believe the results of Election Day in November could look more like the 2008 map than the 2010.
The data compiled by the CUNY Mapping Service at the Center for Urban Research that was used for this article has been compiled in a single spreadsheet. Click here to download it.