Republican-leaning states in the South and West will gain sway from U.S. population figures released yesterday, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats that could linger for years.
The Census estimates show a population shift from Democratic states in the Northeast and Midwest to Republican strongholds like Texas, Utah and South Carolina — giving those states more seats in the House of Representatives.
The new figures also could play a role in the 2012 presidential and congressional races. The number of House seats determines each state’s representation in the Electoral College, which is used to elect a president.
The release of the figures kicks off the once-a-decade, state-by-state fight over redrawing congressional lines to ensure each House district represents roughly the same number of people, as required by the U.S. Constitution.
The process, known as redistricting, is intensely partisan in many states as the parties fight to draw the boundaries in a way that makes House districts more reliably Republican or Democratic.