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Partisanship, Public Opinion, and Redistricting

45 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2010 Last revised: 30 Jun 2010

Nathaniel Persily

Columbia Law School

Date Written: March 12, 2010


This paper analyzes new survey data on Americans' attitudes concerning the redistricting process. We find, unsurprisingly, that a large share of the population has little knowledge about the redistricting process, but that residents living in a state with a recent redistricting controversy are more likely to hold opinions about the issue. Of those who do have opinions, their attitudes toward the redistricting process are reflective of their attitudes toward government generally. Members of the "out" party are more dissatisfied with the redistricting process when the in-party controls the redistricting process, and satisfaction is generally greatest in states where government is divided between the parties. Consistent with such results, we also find Americans to be strongly supportive of leaving redistricting to an independent commission, as opposed to state legislatures.

Suggested Citation

Persily, Nathaniel, Partisanship, Public Opinion, and Redistricting (March 12, 2010). Available at SSRN: or

Nathaniel Persily (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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