Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Pennsylvania

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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 Pennsylvania 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

Pennsylvania Governor

From 1992 to 2013, Pennsylvania had Democratic governors in office for 11 years while there were Republican governors in office for 11 years, including the last three. Pennsylvania was under Republican trifectas for the last three years of the study period.

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.

Pennsylvania Senate

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Pennsylvania State Senate for one year while the Republicans were the majority for 21 years. The Pennsylvania State Senate is one of 13 state senates that was Republican for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013. Pennsylvania was under Republican trifectas for the final three years of the study.

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

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives for seven years while the Republicans were the majority for 15 years. Pennsylvania was under Republican trifectas for the final three years of the study.

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 Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania State Senate and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

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

Partisan control changes

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

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

Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)

Pennsylvania’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 24.48, which puts it at 25 in the overall SQLI ranking.[1]

  • The years that Pennsylvania had the highest ranking were 1999, 2000, and 2004, in which Pennsylvania ranked 19th
  • The years that Pennsylvania had the lowest ranking were 1994 and 2012, in which it ranked 30th.
  • The index type that Pennsylvania had the highest ranking in was Government Employment Share of the Population, in which it ranked 1st.
  • The index type that Pennsylvania had the lowest ranking in was State/Local Tax Burden, in which it ranked 39th.
Pennsylvania 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 22 15 20
America's Health Rankings 26 26 30 28 27 27 27 28 27 26 27 28 31 28 32 27 30 28 27 28 26
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 15 19 21 20 22 29 22 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 43 27 37 39 29 32 39 43
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 19 23 33 20 12 30
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 41 39 41 33 30 26 30
Govt. Employment Share Population 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 4 4 4 3
Graduation Rate 14 17 11 14 14 14 14 16 17 16 15 12 11 9 9 10 10 7 8 10 14
Personal Income Per Capita 17 16 18 19 17 18 16 16 16 18 17 18 18 20 20 20 18 18 18 20 19
Poverty Rate 21 26 27 26 21 21 27 14 13 19 13 21 21 20 26 22 19 14 15 17 N/A
Real GDP per capita 26 27 30 28 30 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 29 29 30 31 28 28 28 28 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 34 26 36 32 29 23 23 25 26 25 25 24 24 31 31 31 31 29 33 34 N/A
State & local tax burden 37 35 36 36 36 35 35 34 34 40 40 40 41 41 38 40 40 39 41 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 35
Unemployment Rate 38 35 37 39 34 32 32 31 33 33 29 27 30 28 27 26 26 23 26 24 30
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 26 28 29 N/A
Voter Turnout 38 33 33 35 35 42 42 32 32 35 35 26 26 23 23 26 26 31 31 28 28
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 33 30 30 31 29

Part 3: Partisanship and SQLI Overlay

The chart below depicts the partisanship of Pennsylvania 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. Pennsylvania had a Democratic trifecta in 1993, but switched two years later to a Republican trifecta that lasted from 1995-2002. The state had a divided government for many years until a Republican trifecta returned in 2011. Pennsylvania's worst SQLI ranking, finishing 30th, occurred in 1994 during a divided government and in 2012 during a Republican trifecta. The state's best ranking, finishing 19th, occurred from 1999-2000 during a Republican trifecta and again in 2004 during a divided government.

  • SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 25.00
  • SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 23.70
  • SQLI average with divided government: 25.20
Chart displaying the partisanship of Pennsylvania 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.