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Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Partisanship Results, State Partisanship Analysis

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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 the report pertaining to the State Partisanship Analysis.

There are seven different sections of the State Partisanship Analysis. The full content of each section can be found on the following pages:

State Partisanship Analysis

State governments exert enormous influence over the quality of life and well-being of citizens. And while political debate in America usually focuses on Congress and Washington DC alone, there has been increasing attention of late given to governance in the states. As James Madison wrote in Federalist 45: "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite." Because new legislation, whether preferred by liberals or conservatives, is easier to pass in one state than in Congress, states have been called the "laboratories of democracy." The 50 state governments spent more than $1.5 trillion in fiscal year 2012.

This section of our three-part report first investigates the partisan breakdown of governors, then the state legislatures (considered both as whole entities and by chamber) and finally trifectas and overall partisan control of state governments.

Over the past 22 years, the Democratic Party has controlled governorships, state senates, and state houses of representatives 49.6 percent of the time, compared to 48.6 percent for the GOP. Republicans have held more governorships than Democrats, 53.1 percent to 45 percent. Democrats controlled the 98 partisan legislative chambers more than Republicans, 51.9 to 46.4 percent, but Republicans have been increasing their share of legislative control. During the first 11 years (1992-2002), the Democrats controlled legislative chambers 54.3 percent of the time, while Republicans were in control 43.6 percent of time. However during the second half of the study period (2003-2013), Democrats and Republicans controlled legislatures for nearly equal periods of time, 49.4 and 49.2 percent, respectively.

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