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Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Iowa

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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 Iowa 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

Iowa Governor

From 1992 to 2013, there were Democratic governors in office for 12 years while there were Republican governors in office for 10 years, including the last three.

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.

Iowa Senate

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Iowa State Senate for 12 years while the Republicans were the majority for 8 years. During the final seven years, the senate was controlled by the Democrats.

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

Iowa House of Representatives

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Iowa House of Representatives for five years while the Republicans were the majority for 17 years.

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 Iowa, the Iowa State Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.

Partisan composition of Iowa state government(1992-2013).PNG

Partisan control changes

There were six partisan control changes in Iowa during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting Iowa higher than the average.

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

Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)

Iowa’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 8.14, which puts it at 5 in the overall SQLI ranking.[1]

  • The years that Iowa had the highest ranking were 2009 and 2012, in which it ranked 1st.
  • The year that Iowa had the lowest ranking was 1995, in which it ranked 14th.
  • The index types that Iowa had the highest ranking in were 24/7 Wall Street’s Best and Worst Governed States and Graduation Rate, in which it ranked 3rd.
  • The index type that Iowa had the lowest ranking in was Government Employment Share of the Population, in which it ranked 36th.
Iowa 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 3 5 5
America's Health Rankings 7 7 7 9 13 13 13 12 9 10 9 10 10 9 9 10 16 15 15 16 20
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 3 3 3 5 4 7 5 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 22 17 18 17 19 17 22 22
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 11 9 4 6 9 12
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 25 24 22 14 13 10 10
Govt. Employment Share Population 26 26 29 32 34 34 34 35 36 37 33 34 34 35 37 37 37 37 36 35 36
Graduation Rate 4 4 2 3 4 6 4 3 1 5 6 4 6 4 4 4 3 3 3 3 5
Personal Income Per Capita 32 34 31 34 28 31 33 33 33 34 32 35 28 33 32 29 27 24 27 23 22
Poverty Rate 18 11 16 26 10 12 8 6 9 6 12 8 19 22 20 7 8 9 7 7 N/A
Real GDP per capita 32 36 32 31 28 30 33 33 31 34 32 32 24 25 24 20 23 24 23 22 N/A
S&P Credit Rating N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 11 11 10 10 10 10 10 1 1 1 1 1
State Govt. Spending/GDP 20 28 20 20 20 23 27 27 27 29 23 23 20 21 24 20 22 23 20 21 N/A
State & local tax burden 38 39 38 40 32 28 26 21 23 24 24 24 22 21 20 16 18 24 27 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 13
Unemployment Rate 4 3 4 5 5 5 4 1 8 6 4 8 14 17 15 17 9 6 5 6 5
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 10 11 11 N/A
Voter Turnout 12 15 15 12 12 14 14 8 8 12 12 6 6 14 14 6 6 9 9 5 5
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 26 7 19 16 9

Part 3: Partisanship and SQLI Overlay

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Iowa 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. Iowa enjoyed a nine-year period in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking between 2003 and 2012, under both divided government and a Democratic trifecta. During the period of the study, Iowa was in the top-10 of the SQLI ranking for twelve out of twenty years. Iowa claimed the top spot in the SQLI ranking twice, once in 2009 and again in 2012. The state’s lowest SQLI ranking came in 1995 (14th) under divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 3.50
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 12.00
  • SQLI average with divided government: 8.87
Chart displaying the partisanship of Iowa 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.