Michael Barone

The drop was particularly big, 3 percent, in Arizona, where state and local governments have cracked down on illegals, notably by requiring employers to use the E-Verify system to determine immigration status (that law was signed by Janet Napolitano, then-governor and now homeland security secretary).

We can't be sure until more detailed data are reported, but it looks like we're seeing significant reverse migration. The lesson is that states' public policy and law enforcement practices can make a difference.

Finally, let's get to politics. The net effect of the reapportionment was to add six House seats and electoral votes to the states John McCain carried in 2008 and to subtract six House seats and electoral votes from the states Barack Obama carried that year. Similarly, the states carried by George W. Bush in 2004 gained six seats, and the states carried by John Kerry lost six.

That's not an enormous change. But it's part of a long-term trend that has reshaped the nation's politics. If you go back to the 1960 election, when the electoral votes were based on the 1950 Census, you will find that John Kennedy won 303 electoral votes. But the states he carried then will have only 272 electoral votes in 2012, a bare majority. And without Texas, which he narrowly carried, the Kennedy states would have only 234 electoral votes.

The bottom line: You need a lot more than the Northeast and the industrial Midwest to get elected president these days.

And to control a majority in the House of Representatives. Thanks to unexpectedly large gains in state legislatures, Republicans stand to control the redistricting process in 18 states with 204 House districts, while Democrats will control it in only seven states with 49 districts. That doesn't guarantee continued Republican majorities, but it's probably worth 10 to 15 seats.

Meanwhile, I await the post-Christmas treat of more detailed Census results to come.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM