Reapportionment and Party Realignment in the American States

Stephen Ansolabehere, James M. Snyder
2004 University of Pennsylvania law review  
Malapportionment of state legislatures before the mid-1960s gave urban and surburban voters much less representation than they deserved. This paper documents that suburban and urban voters had markedly different policy preferences, party identifications, and partisan voting behavior than rural areas, which were overrepresented. However, the patterns are not uniform. In the Northeast and North Central, the suburban and urban under represented areas were much more Democratic than rural areas. In
more » ... he South and the West, the rural areas leaned more Democratic than the urban and suburban voters. Policy preferences split differently in the Northeast and North Central than they did in the South and West. Urban and Suburban voters were much more liberal on social welfare and economic policy than rural voters in those areas. In the South and West, few differences existed across locales. On only one issue did the urban and suburban areas have more liberal attitudes throughout the nation: racial politics. Court-ordered reapportionment, thus, increased the political weight of liberals and Democrats in the Northeast and North Central, but not in the South and West. Consistent with Erickson (1973), reapportionment moved the median voter in all regions to the left on issues of civil rights and racial policy.
doi:10.2307/4150629 fatcat:ilqjd3ohqzdq7ggq3qn3w6z3xe