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2012 competitiveness in Nebraska state legislative elections

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June 14, 2012

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By Tyler King

MADISON, Wisconsin: Nebraska's legislative elections in 2012 are more competitive than most of the country, based on Ballotpedia's Competitiveness index which captures the extent of electoral competitiveness exhibited in state legislative elections.

About the Competitiveness index:
The Ballotpedia state legislative competitive index looks at three factors: is the incumbent running for re-election in a district; if so, does he or she draw a primary challenge; and are there two major party candidates in the general election.

Ballotpedia's index is created by summing the three percentages and then dividing by three. Each state is given 1 point for each percentage. Then, the points are added up and divided by three to establish the index rating. 1 is least competitive and 100 equals most competitive.

The comprehensive 2012 state legislative competitive index will be released following the completion of the primaries in all 44 states with 2012 state legislative elections. It will examine all 6,015 state legislative seats that are up for election on November 6, 2012.

Once a state releases official primary candidate lists, Ballotpedia staff analyzes the data to determine primary competitiveness. All 44 states holding 2012 state legislative elections have been analyzed by Ballotpedia.

Nebraska in 2012:
Nebraska's filing deadline was on March 1, 2012. It was the 9th state to be analyzed by Ballotpedia staff and the inclusion of its data brought the national index to 34.24 in 2012.

In Nebraska, there are 25 total state legislative seats with elections in 2012, with 16 incumbents (64%) that are seeking re-election this year. Just 5 (31.3%) incumbents running for re-election face primary opposition. Additionally, there are 9 (36%) districts where an incumbent did not seek re-election within that district. For November's general elections, there will be 21 (84%) seats where more than one major party candidate will appear on the ballot.

Note: Nebraska is officially a nonpartisan legislature. Thus, in order to include that election in the index, we counted any district where a candidate faced no general election competition as qualifying under the "no major competition" category.

Nationwide Index
The current nationwide index is 36.90
• 44 states analyzed •
(updated August 23, 2012)

Comparison to 2010:
In 2010, Nebraska ranked 7th in overall competitiveness.

  • 12.5% of Districts were open seats, increasing to 36% in 2012.
  • 38.1% of incumbents faced primary opposition, decreasing to 31.3% in 2012.
  • 70.8% of Districts had more than one major party candidate in the general election, compared to 84% in 2012.
  • Nebraska's 2010 competitiveness index was 40.5, compared to 50.4 in 2012.

See also

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