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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Census Report comes out Tuesday: New population count may complicate Obama 2012 re-election bid


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WASHINGTON (AP) - The 2010 census report coming out Tuesday will include a boatload of good political news for Republicans and grim data for Democrats hoping to re-elect President Barack Obama and rebound from last month's devastating elections.

The population continues to shift from Democratic-leaning Rust Belt states to Republican-leaning Sun Belt states, a trend the Census Bureau will detail in its once-a-decade report to the president. Political clout shifts, too, because the nation must reapportion the 435 House districts to make them roughly equal in population, based on the latest census figures.

The biggest gainer will be Texas, a GOP-dominated state expected to gain up to four new House seats, for a total of 36. The chief losers - New York and Ohio, each projected by nongovernment analysts to lose two seats - were carried by Obama in 2008 and are typical of states in the Northeast and Midwest that are declining in political influence.
Democrats' problems don't end there.

November's elections put Republicans in control of dozens of state legislatures and governorships, just as states prepare to redraw their congressional and legislative district maps. It's often a brutally partisan process, and Republicans' control in those states will enable them to create new districts to their liking.

The combination of population shifts and the recent election results could make Obama's re-election campaign more difficult. Each House seat represents an electoral vote in the presidential election process, giving more weight to states Obama probably will lose in 2012. The states he carried in 2008 are projected to lose, on balance, six electoral votes to states that his GOP challenger, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, won. That sets a higher bar for Obama before his re-election campaign even starts.

Of course, any number of things can happen before the 2012 elections...
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