Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, SQLI, Dramatic Changes from 1st Half to 2nd Half

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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 contains the section of Part Two pertaining to the Dramatic Changes from 1st Half to 2nd Half.

Dramatic Changes from 1st Half to 2nd Half

Another way that we can analyze the data is to study which states trended better over the second half of the study. We divided the 21 years of results into two datasets -- 1992-2001 and 2002-2012. By taking the average ranking of each state during the two distinct halves, we can identify states that are displaying improving or declining quality of life trends.

We looked at these changes in two ways. First, we calculated the raw ranking change. For example, if Maine’s average ranking in the first half of the study was 33.70 and the average ranking was 36.09 in the second half, then Maine saw a raw change of 2.39 from the first half to the second. In this case, the 2.39 reflects a negative result as Maine’s average ranking decreased by that amount. The second way we analyze the data is using the percentage change relative to the initial ranking. In the case above, the average ranking for Maine between the first and second half of the study decreased by 7.09 percent. The percentage change figures not only reaffirm the states with dramatic improvement or decline in rank, but also help capture the trends in the higher ranking states where movements are more pronounced as a percentage.

Changes based on raw ranking change

Figure 5: Map depicting the states grouped by most extreme raw ranking change between the two halves of the study.

The five states that showed the greatest quality of life improvement between the two periods were:

Texas increased 15.43 spots in average rank, improving from an average ranking of 34.7 in the first half of the study to 19.27 in the second half. Idaho increased 11.35, improving from 34.8 to 23.45. Utah increased 10.49, from 24.4 to 13.91. Georgia increased 9.99, from 33.9 to 23.91. Arizona increased 9.87, from 37.6 to 27.73.

The five states with the biggest declines from 1992-2012 were:

Michigan decreased 15.95 spots in average rank, declining from an average ranking of 22.5 in the first half of the study to 38.45 in the second half. Illinois decreased 15.17, declining from 11.1 to 26.27. Indiana decreased 12.85, from 15.7 to 28.55. Connecticut decreased 10.65, from 2.9 to 13.55. Wisconsin decreased 10.19, from 10.9 to 21.09.

Changes of 40 percent or more

A total of five states saw their rankings increase by more than 40 percent from the first to the second half of the study. Those five states were Virginia, Iowa, Texas, Maryland and Utah. Virginia’s average ranking increased 67.3 percent, improving from 13.9 in the first half of the study to 4.55 in the second half. Iowa increased 46.97 percent, from 10.8 to 5.73. Texas increased 44.46 percent, from 34.7 to 19.27. Maryland increased 43.53 percent, from 19.8 to 11.18. Utah increased 43 percent, from 24.4 to 13.91.

Additionally, 11 states experienced a dropoff of 40 percent or more in ranking between the two periods of time (1992-2001; 2002-2012). Those states were Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, New Jersey, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada, Alaska and New Hampshire. Connecticut’s average ranking decreased 367.08 percent, declining from 2.9 in the first half of the study to 13.55 in the second half.[1] Massachusetts decreased 140.14 percent, from 5.3 to 12.73. Illinois decreased 136.69 percent, from 11.1 to 26.27. Wisconsin decreased 93.49 percent, from 10.9 to 21.09. Indiana decreased 81.82 percent, from 15.7 to 28.55. New Jersey decreased 80.24 percent, from 11.5 to 20.73. Colorado decreased 73.55 percent, from 3.30 to 5.73. Michigan decreased 70.91 percent, from 22.50 to 38.45. Nevada decreased 69.15 percent, from 12.2 to 20.64. Alaska decreased 47.84 percent, from 20.6 to 30.45. New Hampshire decreased 47.73 percent, from 1.6 to 2.36.

Figure 6: Map depicting the states grouped by most extreme percentage ranking change between the two halves of the study.

See also

External links


  1. Note: States that start with a high ranking -- such as Connecticut -- are at a disadvantage with respect to our percentage change calculation. Specifically, a small raw decline change may lead to a large overall percentage change. We displayed the results with respect to raw decline as well as percentage decline to account for this characteristic.