Continued from page 1

Only Washington and Nevada went for Barack Obama, and while Washington is dependably Democratic, Republican candidates have traditionally run well in Nevada. George W. Bush took Nevada in 2000 and 2004.

What’s more, Republicans bolstered their numbers in Western state legislative races in November, adding clout just as the redistricting process kicks into gear.

“A political party definitely prefers to be in control and growing than not in control and not growing,” said Mr. Johnson. “The question is, will [Republicans] draw the new seats in their favor or protect the ones they barely won in November? Either way, it’s a good problem to have.”

On the other hand, the Western states that gained seats have also undergone growth in their immigrant and Hispanic populations, which could favor Democrats in the long run.

In the short term, however, analysts say the combination of a successful 2010 election year and a friendly census map means good news for Republicans.

“These new Republicans will be drawing lines for new districts as well as redrawing lines for existing seats,” said Mr. Brace. “It’s always good to have your hand on the mouse during redistricting.”