Both Republicans and Democrats Split Over Redistricting Amendment

Oct 20, 2020

Democrats are divided over a constitutional amendment creating a new redistricting commission. And, as it turns out, Republicans are divided too.

Republican-elected officials are united in their support for a constitutional amendment creating a new 16-member commission to draw political boundaries for the General Assembly and Congress. But polling shows Republican voters are divided.

A Christopher Newport University poll shows 42% of Republicans oppose the amendment. Only 32% of Republicans support it. Quentin Kidd is director of the Wason Center there, and he says the numbers reflect years of Republican thinking.

“Democrats have spent the last decade since 2011 arguing for redistricting reform, and Republicans have spent the last decade essentially resisting redistricting reform; fighting lawsuits against reform and all that," Kidd explains. "And those positions sunk into the bases of each party pretty well.”

Credit Christopher Newport University

David Ramadan at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government says the polling shows Republican thinking hasn’t quite caught up with the times yet. 

"Republicans in general in the past, when they were in the majority, were against redistricting independent commissions, he says. "That tends to be the position of the majority, and Republican voters probably got that message over the last 10 years and have not noticed that things have changed.”

Overall, the polling shows more people in favor of the amendment than opposed, with 48% of voters saying they support the amendment and only 28% of voters saying they oppose.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.