Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Colorado
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 Colorado 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
From 1992 to 2013, there were Democratic governors in office for 14 years while there were Republican governors in office for eight years. During the final year (2013), Colorado was under a Democratic trifecta.
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.
From 1992 to 2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Colorado State Senate for 11 years and the Democrats were the majority for the other 11 years. During the final nine years of the study, the Colorado senate was controlled by the Democratic party.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Colorado House of Representatives
From 1992 to 2013, the Republican Party was the majority in the Colorado State House of Representatives for 15 years and the Democrats were the majority for the other seven years.
Across the country, there were 577 Democratic and 483 Republican state houses of representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Partisan control changes
There were seven partisan control changes in Colorado during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting Colorado significantly higher than the average.
Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)
Colorado’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 4.57, which puts it at 3rd in the overall SQLI ranking.
- The years that Colorado had the highest ranking were 1997 and 2007, in which it ranked 1st.
- The year that Colorado had the lowest ranking were 2004 and 2012, in which it ranked 9th.
- The index type that Colorado had the highest ranking in was State government spending to GDP, in which it ranked 2nd.
- The index type that Colorado had the lowest ranking in was State credit rating, in which it ranked 42nd.
|Colorado SQLI 1992-2012|
|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||25||33||29|
|America's Health Rankings||11||8||11||13||7||5||5||8||6||7||8||8||9||14||12||9||14||8||13||14||11|
|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||10||10||11||13||10||8||12||11|
|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||7||5||3||3||5||8|
|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||5||8||6||4||4||5||5|
|Govt. Employment Share Population||37||37||35||33||32||32||31||29||25||25||25||25||26||26||26||26||26||27||27||30||28|
|Personal Income Per Capita||16||14||14||11||10||8||10||7||7||6||7||7||10||8||9||10||10||11||12||13||13|
|Real GDP per capita||14||12||11||11||11||12||11||10||8||8||8||8||9||11||11||10||9||9||13||13||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||36||36||36||40||41||21||24||26||26||28||29|
|State Govt. Spending/GDP||2||5||2||1||2||2||1||3||2||3||3||2||3||3||3||3||3||3||5||6||N/A|
|State & local tax burden||25||20||20||16||15||16||15||16||15||12||12||11||10||14||11||10||13||12||19||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||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||28||29||28||N/A|
Part 3: Partisanship and SQLI Overlay
Colorado was one of eight states to demonstrate a dramatic partisan shift in the 22 years studied. A dramatic shift was defined by a movement of 40 percent or more toward one party over the course of the study period. Colorado has shifted dramatically from Republican to Democratic control.
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Colorado 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. Colorado has consistently ranked in the top-10 in the SQLI ranking during the period of the study, and also ranked in the top-5 for thirteen of the twenty years studied. The state has ranked 1st for two separate years (1997 and 2007), once under divided government and once under a Democratic trifecta. Colorado experienced its most precipitous drop in the SQLI ranking between 2009 and 2010, while still remaining in the top-10 of states. Republican trifectas occurred during the periods between 1999 and 2000 and again between 2003 and 2004, while Democratic trifectas occurred between 2007 and 2011 and again beginning in 2013 to the present. The state experienced a disruption in the Democratic trifectas between those periods when Republicans controlled the state house for two years, between 2010 and 2013.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 3.25
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 5.50
- SQLI average with divided government: 4.69
- Ballotpedia:Who runs the states
- Governor of Colorado
- Colorado State Senate
- Colorado House of Representatives
- 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.
State of Colorado
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Executive Director of Natural Resources | Executive Director of Labor and Employment | Chair of Public Utilities |