Ranking Georgia’s House Districts: The Top 10 Most Republican

With the new House district lines finalized, it’s time to do our biennial ranking of the Most-Republican Districts and Most-Democratic Districts.  We’ll do the Senate districts later.

Just like with Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 500 Songs, there are a hundred methods to judge “Most Republican” or Most Democratic”.  After all…Rolling Stone puts Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” above Billy Joel’s “Piano Man.”  (really.)

This is a report of the Ideal Republican Vote, district by district. It’s an average of several of the most successful election results for statewide (non-Presidential) Republican candidates over the past six years. This ranking does not take into account individual legislator’s election results. It’s about districts themselves relative to all other districts – not the legislator.

Other methods to determine the Most Republican or Most Democratic districts include comparing election results for Public Service Commission candidates to determine relative partisan voting strength, and/or identifying the lowest Republicans have statistically done on a district-by-district basis (and then picking the ‘highest of the lowest).

But this simply identifies the statistical Ideal of GOP candidates within each district.

My colleagues at Landmark, including Mike Seigle, Gabriel Sterling, Mark Pettitt and Andrew Pantino, were essential in accumulating, inputting, researching and analyzing the data. For our own utilization we have ranked them 1-180.

TOP TEN REPUBLICAN HOUSE DISTRICTS:

Defined by averaging the best election results for non-Presidential statewide Republican candidates in various elections from 2006-2010, rounded:

Rank    District    Ideal Republican %     Incumbent

#1.        27                86 %                          Doug Collins (Hall/Forsyth/White (to be open in ’12)

#2.       26                85 %                          (OPEN/Forsyth)

#3.       24                84 %                          Mark Hamilton (Forsyth)

#4.       22                83 %                          Calvin Hill (Cherokee/N Fulton/SW Forsyth)

#5.       31                83%                            Tommy Benton (Jackson)

#6.       25                83%                            Mike Dudgeon (Forsyth)

#7.       10                81%                            Rick Austin (Habersham/White)

#8.       9                  80%                           Amos Amerson (Lumpkin/Dawson)

#9.       21                80%                           Sean Jerguson (Cherokee)

#10.     114            80%                            Len Walker (W. Walton)

 

Tomorrow…the Top 10 Best Democrat House Seats

7 comments

  1. Engineer says:

    Not to be rude, but I wouldn’t mind some citation on here.

    First off, “This ranking does not take into account individual legislator’s election results. It’s about districts themselves relative to all other districts – not the legislator.”
    This right off the bat makes me question the validity of the claims in this article. If it doesn’t go by the percentage vote of a district then how is this ranking even relevant?

    Also, the post says, “For our own utilization we have ranked them 1-180.” Usually a comment like that implies the full list is available elsewhere (A link to it would be helpful).

    • Ken says:

      If it goes by the vote for a particular legislator, then you are quantifying that legislator, not the district. That vote limits the results and would not give a true picture of the district.

      I think I understand what Landmark has done here and it makes sense to me.

  2. Engineer,

    The purpose of the report released here is to reveal the 10 Most Republican districts based on a specific formula. There are a hundred different ways to conclude a Top 10.

    #1. we compiled multiple statewide elections for the best Republican candidate election results for the past six years, doing it on a precinct by precinct basis.

    #2. Same for the best Democratic candidate results.

    #3. we then average those GOP results to conclude what’s called an “Ideal” number. It’s sort of an average of the ‘best election results. We accumulate the information on a precinct by precinct basis so that we can then manipulate it and break it down on a district-by-district basis.

    #4. We do the same for the statewide (non Presidential) Democratic races: average them to determine the “Democratic Ideal”.

    #5. We don’t put localized legislative elections into this because, by definition, that would bring too many variables into the mix. For example, one legislator may do very well with both Republicans and Democrats in their district, but a politically damaged local legislator would drive their Party’s number down. We are looking for races that are statewide candidates in order to get consistency. So we only use statewide candidates. We don’t use Presidential because that doesn’t translate as much into *Georgia* level races. We did, however, use a race from 2008 (PSC) as one of the Democratic Ideal races. Powell (D) nearly won the general election.

    • Engineer says:

      Mr. Roundtree, I was only talking about two things, so I’m not sure why 5 responses came up from you. Unfortunately, you didn’t really seem to answer any of my questions/issues.

      Perhaps I should clarify. It somewhat feels like you may have ignored the possibility of a legislator that is just well liked (sort of a reverse version of the damaged legislator argument) and that he or she gets a higher number of votes based on likability rather than how conservative or liberal (for the democrats) a district is. In those cases you get a skew of the rank being higher than it should.

      The 2nd issue I had was never addressed (a link to the full rankings).

  3. I frankly thought I did answer your question: this is not a report about individual legislators. This is an apples-to-apples ranking of all House districts in statewide elections using comparable criteria. This is the best way to gauge a district in relation to other districts — because all voters in each district of the state vote on the same candidates.

    To compare Brooks Coleman (Duluth) with Ben Watson’s (Savannah) to Howard Mosby’s (DeKalb) to Bubber Epps’ popularity in their respective districts tells us nothing and skews the results. Some incumbents faced no general election opposition, others face weak opposition, others strong opposition with large dollars.

    So we use statewide elections because that is the most consistent way to determine rankings. By its very definition, this is not a ranking of how vulnerable (or not) legislators or legislative districts may be. It’s to establish a “statistical high-end standard” for candidates district by district. However, individual candidates will obviously do better or worse than that high-end standard.

    On the statewide rankings: we’ll release stuff like that at some point. It’s not posted anywhere though. If you (or anyone else) have an individual district (or a few districts) you are interested in, I am happy to send it, and tell you how it ranks vs all the others in statewide elections. Hit me on Facebook with a message and I’ll email back: Mark Rountree in Atlanta.

    • Engineer says:

      I appreciate you taking the time to look into my questions, however I think you missed my point that high popularity/percentages of vote (especially considering it is only over 6 years, and it isn’t too uncommon for a single person to stay in office that long) doesn’t mean high percentage of conservatives in that district’s population.

      The reason I asked for the full ranking is that, with some of the deep red counties and districts in South Georgia, I find it odd that no counties outside of North Georgia were mentioned.

  4. Btw, it does use election results solely contained within the individual districts. (as in, district 83’s rank and numbers are based on actual election results that have taken place solely within the newly-drawn district 83. we compiled election results on a precinct by precinct basis for the entire state — for multiple candidates in elections for 2006, 2008 and 2010).

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