Q&A - The Impact Of The 2020 Census On Future Elections


Today’s entry: How different would the election results have been this year if the 2020 Census changes had already been in place?

Bottom Line: The 2020 Census has been completed but it will be a while before we have the actual changes which will take effect for future election cycles. As a reminder, the Census impacts Congress in addition to Electoral College Representation. The reason so much attention is paid to the Census is due to its profound impact on all aspects of our federal representation. Now, with the final tabulations still in the earlier stages of processing by the Census Bureau, all we have are projections of changes. So, what I’m about to share with you could be different once everything is finalized. However, we do have a pretty good idea of what will change. The analytics firm Election Data Services has an estimate of what will change in Congressional Representation and the Electoral College. Starting with changes in Congress. 

The states that are gaining seats in the House of Representatives include Texas with three, Florida with two, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon with one. As you can see, Texas and Florida are set to gain as much representation as the five other states combined. That’s also a preview of what’s to come in the Electoral College. These are the states that are set to lose representation in the House of Representatives by one: Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia.

So, what then about the Electoral College. How is that likely to change? These are the states set to gain in the Electoral College based upon Census changes: Texas with three votes, Florida with two votes, and Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Carolina, and Oregon with one vote. The states that are losing are Alabama, California, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, all by one vote.

So, net-net what would the difference in the Electoral College have been in this cycle should the current leads in states as shown for each candidate remain. Donald Trump would have fared better by four Electoral College votes, or the equivalent of a small state, this cycle. If the current map trends hold as we head towards the next election cycle, the changes would appear to be generally favorable for Republicans.

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