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Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Rhode Island

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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 Rhode Island 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

Rhode Island Governor

From 1992 to 2013, Rhode Island had Democratic governors in office for three years while there were Republican governors in office for 16 years.

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

Rhode Island Senate

During every year from 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Rhode Island State Senate. The Rhode Island 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.

Rhode Island House of Representatives

During every year from 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Rhode Island State House of Representatives. The Rhode Island House of Representatives is one of 18 state Houses that was Democratic for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992-2013.

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

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

Partisan control changes

There were two partisan control changes in Rhode Island during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting Rhode Island less than the average.

Rhode Island legislature pie chart 1992-2013.png
Rhode Island government pie chart 1992-2013.png
Rhode Island gubernatorial pie chart 1992-2013.png

Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)

Rhode Island’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 32.1, which puts it at 35 in the overall SQLI ranking.[1]

  • The year that Rhode Island had the highest ranking was 2002, in which it ranked 26th.
  • The year that Rhode Island had the lowest ranking was 2009 and 2011, in which it ranked 41st.
  • The index type that Rhode Island had the highest ranking in was Government Employment Share of the Population, in which it ranked 3rd.
  • The index type that Rhode Island had the lowest ranking in was Forbes Best States, in which it ranked 50th.
Rhode Island 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 34 43 49
America's Health Rankings 17 21 20 19 23 15 18 15 18 14 17 13 14 11 13 13 10 10 10 13 10
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 43 43 45 46 46 48 44 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 29 34 34 33 39 39 35 39
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 48 48 48 49 50 50
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 43 45 45 50 49 48 49
Govt. Employment Share Population 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 3 2 1 2 3 4
Graduation Rate 35 32 23 24 29 28 28 25 31 32 28 29 28 23 19 29 24 21 21 25 30
Personal Income Per Capita 18 18 19 18 18 17 17 18 17 16 15 16 17 17 17 15 15 15 15 15 14
Poverty Rate 23 16 14 17 16 27 28 19 25 19 24 27 24 29 21 13 26 23 24 20 N/A
Real GDP per capita 21 22 31 30 33 29 30 31 28 23 22 19 19 19 20 22 24 25 24 24 N/A
S&P Credit Rating N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 38 36 36 36 17 20 21 24 26 26 28 29
State Govt. Spending/GDP 49 48 46 47 46 41 40 40 36 38 38 37 37 41 40 39 39 34 38 39 N/A
State & local tax burden 46 46 46 46 46 47 45 46 47 47 47 48 48 46 45 44 44 45 45 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
Unemployment Rate 45 47 44 41 28 36 32 27 33 25 18 20 27 32 41 41 49 45 47 48 48
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 38 46 38 N/A
Voter Turnout 22 9 9 25 25 22 22 31 31 18 18 35 35 10 10 32 32 20 20 34 34
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 40 33 35 37

Part 3: Partisanship and SQLI Overlay

The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Rhode Island 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. Rhode Island had a Democratic trifecta in the early years of the study, from 1992-1994, but after that maintained a divided government. The state's best SQLI ranking, finishing 26th, occurred in 2002. In more recent years of the study, Rhode Island's ranking fell, finishing in the bottom-10 at 41st in both 2009 and 2011.

Chart displaying the partisanship of the Rhode Island 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.