From Larry Sabato’s people….
— Despite a requirement that congressional districts have roughly identical populations within states, the number of raw votes cast in each district can vary widely, both within a state and across the country.
— In 2022, there was a nearly 300,000-vote difference between the lowest-turnout district (NY-15 in New York City) and the highest-turnout one (MI-1 in northern Michigan).
— Republicans won about two-thirds of the districts that cast the most votes (300,000 or more) while Democrats won about two-thirds of the districts that cast the fewest (less than 200,000).
Since the Supreme Court in the 1960s mandated “one person, one vote” in congressional redistricting, districts within states have had to be as equal as possible in population at the time the lines are drawn early in the decade. While the “ideal” district size varies across states, in most states it’s somewhere between 700,000-800,000 people. But the turnout in these districts has still varied widely.
Last fall, nearly 107.7 million ballots were cast across the country for the House. Turnout ranged from a low of barely 90,000 in the New York 15th (represented by Democrat Ritchie Torres) to a high of nearly 390,000 in the Michigan 1st (represented by Republican Jack Bergman). That is a difference of nearly 300,000 votes from high to low. Nationally, the average turnout in 2022 was about 250,000 voters per district.
For the most part, the results confirmed the longstanding rule of thumb that Republicans tend to do better than the Democrats in high-turnout districts, many of them suburban and fairly affluent in nature, while Democrats tend to dominate in districts with low turnouts, often territory that is poorer, urban, and features a significant minority population. A caveat, though: Democrats have been steadily gaining ground in recent years in the suburbs as Republicans shed voters with their lurch to the right on cultural issues, from abortion to gun access.
Of the 91 districts where there was a high turnout in 2022 (measured here as more than 300,000 votes), 59 elected Republicans to the House. In contrast, of the 98 low-turnout districts (where the number of ballots cast fell below 200,000), 66 sent Democrats to Congress. Put another way, nearly two thirds of the high-turnout districts last fall sent Republicans to the House, and slightly more than two thirds of the low-turnout districts elected Democrats.
The rest of the districts were in a broad middle ground where between 200,000-300,000 votes were cast. Republicans held a modest edge there last fall, winning 129 House seats to the Democrats’ 115. (There were two other districts in 2022 where Republicans ran unopposed and no votes were cast.)….
Turnout and actual winning the number of elections ARE different things…..