Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Tennessee
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 Tennessee 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, Tennessee had Democratic governors in office for 11 years while there were Republican governors in office for 11 years, including the last three. Tennessee 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.
From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Tennessee State Senate for 12 years while the Republicans were the majority for eight years.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Tennessee House of Representatives
From 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Tennessee State House of Representatives for first 18 years while the Republicans were the majority for the last four years. The Tennessee 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.
Partisan control changes
There were six partisan control changes in Tennessee during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting Tennessee higher than the average.
Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)
Tennessee’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 31.43, which puts it at 34 in the overall SQLI ranking.
- The year that Tennessee had the highest ranking was 2012, in which it ranked 21st.
- The year that Tennessee had the lowest ranking was 2004, in which it ranked 40th.
- The index type that Tennessee had the highest ranking in was Tax Freedom Day, in which it ranked 1st.
- The index types that Tennessee had the lowest ranking in were America’s Health Rankings and Well-being Index, in which it ranked 44th.
|Tennessee 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||35||29||12|
|America's Health Rankings||43||44||44||43||44||48||47||44||42||45||43||48||47||49||46||43||48||44||42||41||39|
|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||7||11||7||6||5||3||4||4|
|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||17||21||20||16||18||16|
|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||20||13||17||23||22||21||24|
|Govt. Employment Share Population||15||15||15||14||15||13||14||13||13||12||12||11||15||11||11||10||9||10||12||13||10|
|Personal Income Per Capita||34||33||32||31||33||34||34||34||35||36||35||36||36||37||39||39||40||37||35||35||34|
|Real GDP per capita||29||25||26||27||32||32||31||30||36||35||34||36||35||35||36||36||37||40||34||34||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||10||10||12||12||12||13||14|
|State Govt. Spending/GDP||7||7||8||10||10||9||7||7||8||10||10||13||11||11||9||10||10||10||8||10||N/A|
|State & local tax burden||5||6||5||3||3||5||4||4||4||3||3||3||4||5||7||7||7||3||3||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||1|
|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||11||12||10||N/A|
Part 3: Partisanship and SQLI Overlay
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Tennessee 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. Tennessee experienced both Democratic and Republican trifectas during the years of the study. Its best ranking, finishing 21st, occurred in 2012 during a Republican trifecta. Its worst ranking, finishing 40th, occurred in 2004 during a Democratic trifecta.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 34.00
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: 23.00
- SQLI average with divided government: 31.71
- Ballotpedia:Who runs the states
- Governor of Tennessee
- Tennessee State Senate
- Tennessee 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 Tennessee
|State executive officers||
Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Comptroller | Treasurer | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance| Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Environment & Conservation | Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development | Chairman of Regulatory Authority |