Campaign Legal Center today released data from the first-ever bipartisan survey on partisan gerrymandering and the Supreme Court. You can watch video of the full event at the bottom of this post.
The poll – conducted by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners and Republican pollster Ashlee Rich Stephenson for WPA Intelligence – compiled opinions from 1,000 respondents. In a time of rare bi-partisan consensus, the data shows Americans, from both major political parties, overwhelmingly support measures to limit partisan gerrymandering regardless of political affiliation. Results include:
- An overwhelming majority (71 to 15 percent) of Americans want the Supreme Court to place limits on lawmakers’ ability to manipulate voting maps.
- By a margin of 62 to 10 percent, voters are less likely to support a candidate who supports partisan gerrymandering.
- By a margin of 73 to 14 percent, voters support removing partisan bias from redistricting, even if it means their preferred political party will win fewer seats.
On Oct. 3, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Gill v. Whitford, CLC’s landmark case in which the justices have the opportunity to set a standard to determine what constitutes an extreme partisan gerrymander.
A majority of the U.S. Supreme Court has already found, on more than one occasion, that partisan gerrymandering is constitutionally problematic. However, it has not in the past been willing to overturn a mapping scheme because it has felt there has not been a workable test to assess the severity of the gerrymander.
Experts have long recognized that gerrymandering, the process by which politicians manipulate district lines to choose who will vote for them, is a major hurdle preventing a democracy from effectively representing voters. With improved computer software and voter data, politicians are able to decide with increasing accuracy whose votes matter and virtually guarantee themselves re-election, regardless of the will of the voters. The poll underscores the notion that voters overwhelmingly expect free and fair elections for choosing their representatives. Voters should be choosing their politicians, not the other way around, and the Supreme Court can be confident that in reining in extreme partisan gerrymandering, it’s doing what’s required by the Constitution and acting in accordance with what the vast majority of Americans believe.