Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Arkansas

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Who Runs the States

Main Report Pages
Main PagePart 1Partisanship InfographicPart 2Part 3

Partisanship Results Report (Part 1)
Executive SummaryState Partisanship AnalysisPartisan Control of GovernorshipsPartisan Control of State LegislaturesPartisan Control of State SenatesPartisan Control of State HousesState Government TrifectasOverall Partisan Control: Bright, Medium and Soft StatesChanges of Partisan Domination over 22 yearsYear-to-Year Changes in State Partisan ControlTrifectas and Presidential Election PatternsConclusionMethodologyAppendix AAppendix B

State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) Report (Part 2)
Executive SummaryState Quality of Life Index (SQLI)About the IndexOverall RankingsDramatic Changes from 1st Half to 2nd HalfIndividual IndicatorsMethodologyAppendices

Partisanship and (SQLI) Overlay Report (Part 3)
IntroductionComparing Partisanship and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI) RankingsDescription of the dataTrends and correlationsMethodologyKey Values for Fifty-State RegressionsAppendices
Praise or blame is extended to political parties for the economic, educational, health and other quality of life outcomes that result from the policies those parties enact into law. To better understand which political party enjoys power in each of the states, Ballotpedia has analyzed state government control from 1992-2013 using the concept of a "partisan trifecta." A partisan trifecta is defined as when a state's governorship and legislative chambers are controlled by the same political party.

The two major political parties claim that their policies will lead to better outcomes. What does the data show?

At Ballotpedia, we explored these issues in a three-part study, Who Runs the States.

This page takes a specific look at how Arkansas performed in the study.

Background about the study

See also: Ballotpedia: Who Runs the States

Part One examines the partisanship of state government from 1992-2013. Part Two establishes a State Quality of Life Index (SQLI), aggregating a variety of existing state indices into one measurement. Part Three will overlay the two reports, looking for trends and correlations.

Part 1: Partisanship analysis

Arkansas Governor

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State House of Representatives for the first 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last year. The Arkansas State House is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. The final year of the study depicted a shift in the Arkansas House of Representatives which changed to Republican control for the first time.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican state houses of representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.

Arkansas Senate

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State Senate for 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for one year. The Arkansas State Senate is one of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. In the final year of the study, Arkansas senate was under Republican control for the first time.

Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.

Arkansas House of Representatives

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Arkansas State House of Representatives for the first 21 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last year. The Arkansas State House is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992 and 2013. In the final year of the study, the Arkansas House of Representatives came under Republican control for the first time.

Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican state houses of representatives from 1992 to 2013.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Arkansas, the Arkansas State Senate and the Arkansas House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of Arkansas state government(1992-2013).PNG

Partisan control changes

There were three partisan control changes in Arkansas during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting Arkansas slightly lower than the average.

Arkansas legislature pie chart 1992-2013.png
Arkansas government pie chart 1992-2013.png
Arkansas gubernatorial pie chart 1992-2013.png

Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)

Arkansas’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 44.19, which puts it at 44th in the overall SQLI ranking.[1]

  • The years that Arkansas had the highest ranking were 1993 to 1995, in which it ranked 41st.
  • The years that Arkansas had the lowest ranking were 1999 and 2000, in which it ranked 47th.
  • The index type that Arkansas had the highest ranking in was Unfunded pension liabilities per capita, in which it ranked 14th.
  • The index types that Arkansas had the lowest ranking in was America’s Health Rankings, Personal income per capita and Real GDP per capita, in which it ranked 48th.
Arkansas SQLI 1992-2012
Index 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
24/7 Wall St Best/Worst Governed States N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 40 35 32
America's Health Rankings 42 40 45 46 47 47 49 48 48 46 46 46 45 47 47 47 44 40 48 47 48
CAFR Debt/GDP N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 22 19 17 15 13 14 13 N/A
Chief Executive Magazine Best and Worst States for Business Survey N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 32 26 30 37 35 27 30 29
CNBC Top States for Business N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 36 32 31 32 32 20
Forbes Best States for Business N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 24 21 32 26 32 29 35
Govt. Employment Share Population 13 13 13 15 16 17 15 16 16 17 16 18 17 17 18 18 18 20 21 24 23
Graduation Rate 22 21 19 16 21 25 19 28 22 22 20 21 27 25 21 26 30 15 32 25 36
Personal Income Per Capita 47 48 48 48 48 48 48 47 48 48 49 48 48 48 48 47 47 46 45 45 45
Poverty Rate 41 46 38 36 45 49 39 43 48 48 50 49 43 36 49 38 43 47 30 47 N/A
Real GDP per capita 47 47 47 47 47 46 47 46 47 48 47 47 48 48 48 48 48 47 47 47 N/A
S&P Credit Rating N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 22 21 20 18 17 20 21 24 26 26 28 29
State Govt. Spending/GDP 28 32 25 26 33 37 37 39 39 40 41 41 40 40 41 40 38 38 41 43 N/A
State & local tax burden 15 13 14 14 18 19 19 19 20 27 27 25 24 32 35 37 33 36 36 N/A N/A
Tax Freedom Day N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 17
Unemployment Rate 28 22 22 18 24 32 39 31 33 28 22 31 35 29 44 43 30 18 17 24 26
Unfunded Pension Liabilities per capita N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 13 17 18 N/A
Voter Turnout 39 32 32 39 39 32 32 44 44 27 27 48 48 36 36 48 48 41 41 46 46
Well-Being Index N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 47 48 47 44 46

Part 3: Partisanship and SQLI Overlay

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Arkansas state government and the state's SQLI ranking for the years studied. For the SQLI, the states were ranked from 1-50, with 1 being the best and 50 the worst. Arkansas has never had a Republican trifecta, but did have two Democratic trifectas, between 1992 and 1996 and also between 2007 and 2011. Arkansas has ranked in the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking for each year of the study. Its highest ranking (41st) occurred in the early 1990s under a Democratic trifecta, while its worst ranking (47th) occurred in 1999 and 2000 under divided government. 2013 was the first year in which Arkansas’s divided government included a Democratic governor and Republican legislature. In all other years of divided government, Arkansas had a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 43.18
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 45.30
Chart displaying the partisanship of Arkansas government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

Additional information

External links

Footnotes

  1. Note: The average rank is compiled by adding up all years of rankings and then dividing by 21 to obtain the average state ranking. This average figure is ranked relative to the rest of the 49 states to derive an overall SQLI ranking.