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Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, California

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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 California 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

California Governor

From 1992 to 2013, there were Democratic governors in office for eight years while there were Republican governors in office for 14 years. During the final three years of the study, California was under Democratic trifectas.

Across the country, there were 493 years of Democratic governors (44.82%) and 586 years of Republican governors (53.27%) from 1992-2013.

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.

California Senate

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the California State Senate for all 22 years. The California State Senate is one of 16 state senates that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013.

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

California State Assembly

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the California State House of Representatives for all 22 years. The California Assembly is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992 to 2013. During the final three years of the study, California was under Democratic trifectas.

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 California, the California State Senate and the California House of Representatives from 1992-2013. Partisan composition of California state government(1992-2013).PNG

Partisan control changes

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

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

Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)

California’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 35.81, which puts it at 40th in the overall SQLI ranking.[1]

  • The years that California had the highest ranking were 1998 and 1999, in which it ranked 28th.
  • The year that California had the lowest ranking was 2012, in which it ranked 48th.
  • The index types that California had the highest ranking in were Government employment as a percentage of population and Real GDP per capita, in which it ranked 9th.
  • The index type that California had the lowest ranking in was State credit rating, in which it ranked 50th.
California 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 49 50 50
America's Health Rankings 23 25 28 26 24 22 22 22 19 20 19 18 18 18 21 22 24 23 26 22 22
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 29 26 27 27 30 35 35 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 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50
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 28 25 32 32 32 40
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 36 34 40 38 39 39 41
Govt. Employment Share Population 11 10 10 8 7 7 5 6 8 9 11 9 7 9 10 11 10 9 7 7 6
Graduation Rate 42 42 41 40 40 39 37 35 34 33 30 31 32 33 32 32 33 40 38 39 42
Personal Income Per Capita 10 11 13 12 13 12 9 8 8 8 9 10 8 9 7 8 12 12 16 17 15
Poverty Rate 38 42 44 42 42 45 43 40 39 33 34 37 34 35 33 31 41 36 35 41 N/A
Real GDP per capita 11 13 14 13 13 17 17 12 11 12 12 12 10 8 8 8 8 10 11 11 N/A
S&P Credit Rating N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 46 47 49 49 48 49 49 49 50 50 50 50
State Govt. Spending/GDP 25 33 33 22 23 22 21 22 22 27 27 32 27 27 26 25 27 25 23 29 N/A
State & local tax burden 39 38 35 37 40 40 40 42 44 43 43 43 44 42 43 47 47 46 47 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 39
Unemployment Rate 49 49 49 49 47 46 47 44 43 43 46 46 43 36 39 44 48 47 48 49 49
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 19 34 32 N/A
Voter Turnout 28 16 16 26 26 17 17 27 27 43 43 33 33 32 32 36 36 23 23 40 40
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 9 20 18 18 18

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. California has never had a Republican trifecta, but did have Democratic trifectas between the years 1999 and 2003 and again after 2010 to the present. California fell steadily in the SQLI ranking until finally reaching the bottom-10 in 2010. The state reached its highest ranking (28th) in 1998 and 1999, first under divided government and then under a Democratic trifecta. The state’s lowest ranking (48th) occurred recently in 2012 under a Democratic trifecta. Except for the years 1995 and 1996, the California legislature has been consistently under Democratic control.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 37.00
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
  • SQLI average with divided government: 35.21
Chart displaying the partisanship of California government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

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.