That does not mean, however, that the new state numbers, which will split the number of congressional districts each state receives, and therefore the number of votes, will not change the landscape in 2024 and 2028.
Here are five reasons why:
The gap between the referendum and the electoral college is widening.
Biden beat then President Donald Trump with 74 votes from the electoral college. A net win of six votes for Trump would not have mattered.
But in a close race – like the one in 2000, in which only five votes separated George W. Bush and Al Gore – the reorientation of the electoral college could make the difference.
And by improving the math for Republicans only marginally, the recent reallocation did something even more important for the GOP: For a party struggling to compete with Democrats for the referendum, the youngest population has retained the electoral college lead – even improves that keeps the Republican Party competitive at all in presidential elections.
“It’s certainly a gradual change in favor of the Republicans,” wrote Tom Bonier, CEO of the Democratic data firm TargetSmart, in an email. “Not quite as significant as planned, but to the extent that the electoral college has a built-in advantage in favor of the Republicans, that advantage is now slightly greater.”
This is important for a party whose presidential candidates have won the national referendum only once since 1988.
Jeff Roe, the prominent Republican strategist who led Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign, put it this: “After two consecutive presidential elections, decided by 65,000 and 77,000 respectively, this is a very big deal.”
The GOP wins this round, but with one caveat.
Long before the 2024 campaign begins – and without knowing who the nominees will be – the ten-year shift in the mathematics of the electoral college is already tipping the landscape in favor of the GOP.
But the kind from red states that received electoral votes may make sense. Sean Walsh, a Republican strategist who worked in the Reagan, and George H.W. Bush White Houses and several presidential campaigns found that Republican gains were made in GOP-oriented states, “but not in our dominant states” – the rural, highly conservative states whose redistribution remained largely unaffected.
In other words, the redistribution benefited the Republican Party, but mostly in moderate states where Democrats are making profits or are within striking distance – not the deep red states where their conservative base is most reliable. That means these current gains can be temporary.
For both Republicans and Democrats, Walsh said the lesson from the redistribution is, “If I ran nationally, I would want to play more in the middle in both parties rather than to the extreme.”
“North Carolina is a lot more moderate than you think, Texas is getting more moderate, Florida is not as conservative as many people think, and Montana has an interesting libertarian streak,” he said. “All in all, I think the moderately conservative candidate for a general election will benefit from it.”
The paths to 270 can change.
The most obvious impact of the redistribution is that the influence of the rust belt on presidential politics will continue to decline in 2024 and 2028, while the sun belt continues to advance. Large, republican states like Texas and Florida that received votes are becoming a little more important than they already are, while the large Democratic states like New York and California are becoming a little less important.
Of the states Biden won in 2020, California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will each lose one vote, while Oregon and Colorado will both get one vote. Of the states Trump won in 2020, only West Virginia and Ohio lost college elections. But Florida, North Carolina, and Montana each won one. And Texas took two.
Regarding the redistribution, Bonier said: “The trend towards faster population growth in the sun belt continues and thus increases the electoral relevance of these states. Democrats will certainly seek to contest Texas and Florida in the future to deny Republicans a large block of votes for the electoral college. “
It could have been a lot worse for Democrats. If Texas had got three votes for the electoral college and Florida got two, as expected, the increase in votes from Democratic-won blue states to Republican-won red states would have been 10 rather than six, said Political Data redistricting expert Paul Mitchell. Inc.
“And of course there are other scenarios that would have resulted in a 12-point Republican swing,” Mitchell said in an email. “So, the six votes? No way of knowing if that matters. And if the map changes (for example, if FL or TX turn blue at some point in the decade), what are we talking about anyway? “
The new numbers could end up hitting Republicans back.
At first glance, the result of the redistribution for Democrats, said Michael Ceraso, a Democratic strategist who worked for Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016 and for Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s recent election, “The electoral college is harder to come by. ”
But that’s right now.
Ten years ago then-President Barack Obama also posted a net redistribution loss of six votes on his 2008 winners card. Texas won four seats this year – two more than it does now. The redistribution, however, did not significantly change the course of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. He won in 2012 with 126 votes from the electoral college.
In addition, the beneficiary of electoral college voting gains and losses may change over the course of several years.
The 2010 redistribution added votes for Arizona and Georgia, which likely benefited Republicans at the time. A decade later, the Democrats celebrated after Biden flipped both states last year. The same demographic changes that are helping the Sun Belt states get more people and votes for the electoral college may ultimately help Democrats win in the long run, not just in Georgia and Arizona, but Florida and Texas as well.
Nebraska and Maine could be mixed up.
It’s hard to imagine that a redistribution will weigh heavily on the 2024 campaign. No state received so many votes that it received a new award. No state has lost so many that it has become irrelevant.
But in a close race, even a single vote could matter – and both parties have spent at least some funding in recent years securing individual votes in Nebraska and Maine, the only two states in the country that give electoral college votes by congressional district .
Redesigning the boundaries of the Congressional District as a result of a reallocation could alter the boundaries of these two Congressional Districts and change the shape of the presidential compound there. Republicans in Nebraska, for example, could make the Omaha-based 2nd District of the state safer for Republican MP Don Bacon and reduce a Democrat’s chances of wearing the district again in 2024.
But it could also make Nebraska and Maine less important if the districts are no longer competitive enough to warrant a presidential campaign investment.
And thanks to the newly released data, there is no need to win in the suburbs of Omaha or Maine when profits from Texas or Florida can make up for a loss in either of those places.