Monday, November 22, 2010

Poll finds wide support for redistricting commission

You might have seen where the leaders of the 2011 General Assembly -- don't plan to do what they once urged the legislature to do when it was controlled by Democrats: give the job of drawing new legislative and congressional districts to an independent, nonpartisan commission. Always seemed like a good idea to me, despite the new problems it might well bring. Legislators have made such a hash of it over the years that giving the job to an independent panel made some sense. But Republican point out that there's no way to amend the Constitution and delegate the job to an independent organization before the legislature has to come up with its own maps in mid-2011.

They're right to that extent, but nothing prevents them, as a number of folks have pointed out, from naming an advisory panel to propose maps for the upcoming redistricting process.

Anyway, Public Policy Polling wondered what the people think. And they found out that Democrats, Republicans and Independents all support the idea -- independents most especially. Here's analysis from Tom Jensen at PPP:

Democrats, Republicans, and independents in North Carolina don't all agree on much these days but there is one thing: they all think the state would be better served by an independent commission in charge of redistricting than continuing to have the Legislature draw up the lines.

49% of voters in the state think an independent commission is the way to go compared to only 21% who want legislators to continue doing it. 30% express no opinion one way or the other. The desire to reduce the influence of politics in redistricting is held by Democrats by a 47/24 margin and by Republicans by a 41/20 margin. The most overwhelming support for such a measure comes from independents, who favor it 69/15.

Phil Berger has historically supported an independent commission but now says there won't be time to create one in 2011 when Republicans will take control of the legislature. A plurality of voters in the state support a solution to Berger's concern about timing- having a special session of the legislature before the end of this year to create the commission and get the process rolling. 40% of voters in the state say they'd support calling the legislators back to deal with the issue to only 27% who are opposed and 33% who don't offer an opinion one way or the other. Democrats (44/24) and independents (46/29) are both pretty strongly in support of that action while Republicans divide evenly (31/31) on it.

North Carolinians want an independent redistricting commission and they're open to taking some unusual steps to get one in place before the next round of line drawing- December could be a whole lot more interesting on the political calendar this year than it usually is.

For more:


Anonymous said...

We're in the midst of having our California congrssional districts drawn by an independent commission. Voters liked the idea so much we just approved having all our state assembly and senate seats drawn the same way. Creating electoral uncertainty is the best way to make sure politicians of every stripe listen to their voters.

Anonymous said...

Under 50% is "wide support"? Who does your math?

ThaQueenCity said...

This is something I WILL be watching carefully as I am tired of MY so called (unfair) district being represented by someone who doesn't even LIVE in the district!

Hopefully, the DEM lines will be erased....can't happen soon enough for me!