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Difference between revisions of "2011 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index"

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{{CA2011toc}}
 
'''By Geoff Pallay'''
 
'''By Geoff Pallay'''
[[File:SLP elec2011 badge.jpg|right|200px|link=State legislative elections, 2011]]
+
 
{{tnr}}'''578 seats''' of the country's 7,384 state legislative seats are up for election in the [[state legislative elections, 2011|November 8, 2011 state legislative elections]].   
+
{{tnr}}'''578 seats''' of the country's 7,384 state legislative seats were up for election in the [[state legislative elections, 2011|November 8, 2011 state legislative elections]].   
  
 
This article is an overview of our analysis of the [[A "Competitiveness Index" for capturing competitiveness in state legislative elections|degree of competitiveness]] in 2011's state legislative elections. The analysis utilized  [[A "Competitiveness Index" for capturing competitiveness in state legislative elections|this 3-factor "Competitiveness Index"]].  
 
This article is an overview of our analysis of the [[A "Competitiveness Index" for capturing competitiveness in state legislative elections|degree of competitiveness]] in 2011's state legislative elections. The analysis utilized  [[A "Competitiveness Index" for capturing competitiveness in state legislative elections|this 3-factor "Competitiveness Index"]].  
 +
==Objectives==
 +
* To know which states have the most competitive electoral environment and which states have the least competitive electoral environments in 2011.
 +
* To collect data about the overall competitiveness of the [[State legislative elections, 2011|2011 state legislative elections]].  In 2010, "when we first started building state-by-state lists of state legislative candidates, we were surprised at the number of seats where there was minimal or no competition. It was especially surprising because many observers on the national level regard 2010 as a highly-competitive election environment."  The picture that emerged as we continued our study suggests that this is not the case at the level of state legislative elections, despite a relatively high degree of voter discontent.  Our guess is that even many highly-engaged or newly-engaged political activists are unaware of the opportunities that exist for expanded electoral competitiveness at the level of state legislative elections. These observations led us to develop and present an empirical study of this phenomenon.
 +
* To develop a [[A "Competitiveness Index" for capturing competitiveness in state legislative elections|Competitiveness Index]] that can used in future years, so that political observers can assess the ebb and flow of state legislative election competitiveness over time.
  
==Primary competitiveness==
+
==Open seats==
This fall, with only four states holding elections, we are adding an additional level of analysis to the study -- an increased emphasis on primary competitiveness specifically.
+
{{Iasmalllogo11}}
 +
::''See also: [[Open seats in the 2011 state legislative elections]]''
  
Thus far, candidate lists have been released in [[State legislative elections, 2011#New Jersey]] and [[State legislative elections, 2011#Mississippi]].  
+
In 473 (81.8%) of the 578 seats up for election on November 8, the incumbent ran for re-election.
  
===Mississippi===
+
In 105 (18.2%) of the 578 seats up for election on November 8, the incumbent did not run for re-election.
  
===New Jersey===
+
* 16 of these incumbents did not run due to [[State legislatures with term limits|state legislative term limits]] in Louisiana.
[[New Jersey]] has 40 legislative districts, leaving 80 possible primaries in each chamber -- 40 Democratic and 40 Republican. In the [[New Jersey State Senate|Senate]], a primary is "contested" when at least two candidates are competing for their respective party’s nomination. In the [[New Jersey General Assembly|General Assembly]], a contested primary will feature at least 3 candidates since the top-2 vote getters advance to the general election.
+
  
There were only 9 contested primaries out of the 80 primaries in the [[New Jersey State Senate elections, 2011|Senate]]. In the [[New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2011|General Assembly]], only 15 of the 80 primaries were contested. All told, only 24 out of the 160 primaries on June 7 (15%) required voters to choose between multiple candidates. In the remaining 136 primaries (85%), the candidate (or candidates in the [[New Jersey General Assembly]]) automatically advanced to the [[State legislative elections, 2011|general election]].
+
* Alternatively, of the 578 legislative seats up for election in 2011, 562 incumbents could, legally, have run again in 2011.
 +
* Of those 562 seats, 92 incumbents (16.4%) who could have run again in 2011 chose not to.
  
{|class="wikitable" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="5" border="1" style="background:none" style="width:650px;"
+
After adjusting for [[Impact of term limits on state legislative elections in 2010|term limited state legislators]], '''83.6% of the incumbents who were legally able to run again in 2011 chose to run again.'''
 +
 
 +
==Incumbents in primaries==
 +
::''See also: [[Incumbents with no primary challenger in the 2011 state legislative elections]]''
 +
 
 +
'''95 incumbents faced a primary challenger''' in 2011. 
 +
 
 +
Since 473 incumbents ran for re-election in 2011, that means that '''only 20.1%''' of them faced a primary challenger.
 +
 
 +
378 incumbents (79.9%) running for re-election in 2011 had no primary challenger.
 +
 
 +
Although this data did not come into play in our Competitiveness Index, we also noted that of the 145 incumbents who did have a challenger:
 +
 
 +
* [[Incumbents defeated in 2011's state legislative elections|No incumbent Democratic senators were defeated in a primary]]
 +
* [[Incumbents defeated in 2011's state legislative elections|4 incumbent Republican state senators were defeated in a primary]].
 +
* [[Incumbents defeated in 2011's state legislative elections|2 incumbent Democratic state representatives were defeated in a primary]]
 +
* [[Incumbents defeated in 2011's state legislative elections|2 incumbent Republican state representatives were defeated in a primary]].
 +
 
 +
Altogether, 8 incumbent state legislators who ran for re-election in 2011 lost in a primary.  This is '''5.5%''' of the 145 who '''had primary opposition.'''  It is '''1.7%''', when compared to the 473 incumbents running for re-election.
 +
 
 +
Although we didn't use this factor in calculating the overall degree of competitiveness of the 2011 state legislative elections, we also collected information about which incumbents had [[Incumbents with no primary or general election challengers in the 2011 state legislative elections|no primary election challenge '''and''' no general election challenge]]. 
 +
 
 +
According to our data, about one half of incumbents -- 50.1% exactly -- faced '''no challenge at any level of the 2011 election.''' 
 +
 
 +
{|class="wikitable" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="5" border="1" style="background:none" style="width:50%;"
 
|-
 
|-
 +
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Status
 +
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Senate
 +
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | House
 +
! style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Total
  
! colspan="10" style="background-color:#008000; color: white;" | Comparing Contested Primaries of past three NJ Elections
 
 
|-
 
|-
! colspan="1" style="background-color:#f0f0f0; color: white;" |  
+
| Seats up
! colspan="3" style="background-color:#00008B; color: white;" | Democrats
+
| align="center" | 171
! colspan="3" style="background-color:#800000; color: white;" | Republicans
+
| align="center" | 407
! colspan="3" style="background-color:#000008; color: white;" | Total
+
| align="center" | 578
 +
 
 
|-
 
|-
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|
+
| Incumbents running
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2007'''
+
| align="center" | 144
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2009'''
+
| align="center" | 329
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2011'''
+
| align="center" | 473
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2007'''
+
 
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2009'''
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2011'''
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2007'''
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2009'''
+
| align="center" style="background:#f0f0f0;"|'''2011'''
+
 
|-
 
|-
| align=left|Open contested||align=center|4||align=center|0||align=center|2||align=center|4||align=center|6||align=center|10||align=center|8||align=center|6||align=center|12
+
| % with no incumbent
 +
| align="center" | 15.8%
 +
| align="center" | 19.2%
 +
| align="center" | 18.2%
 +
 
 
|-
 
|-
| align=left|Open uncontested||align=center|36||align=center|15||align=center|29||align=center|46||align=center|17||align=center|40||align=center|82||align=center|32||align=center|69
+
| Incumbents with no primary
 +
| align="center" | 116
 +
| align="center" | 262
 +
| align="center" | 378
 +
 
 
|-
 
|-
| align=left|Incumbent contested||align=center|7||align=center|9||align=center|8||align=center|3||align=center|8||align=center|4||align=center|10||align=center|17||align=center|12
+
| % with no primary
 +
| align="center" | 80.6%
 +
| align="center" | 79.6%
 +
| align="center" | 79.9%
 +
 
 
|-
 
|-
| align=left|Incumbent uncontested||align=center|33||align=center|16||align=center|38||align=center|20||align=center|7||align=center|25||align=center|53||align=center|23||align=center|63
+
| Candidates with no major party opposition
 +
| align="center" | 64
 +
| align="center" | 181
 +
| align="center" | 245
 +
 
 
|-
 
|-
| align=left|Total contested||align=center|11||align=center|9||align=center|10||align=center|7||align=center|14||align=center|14||align=center|18||align=center|23||align=center|24
+
| % with no major party opposition
 +
| align="center" | 37.4%
 +
| align="center" | 44.5%
 +
| align="center" | 42.4%
 +
 
 
|-
 
|-
| align=left|Total uncontested||align=center|69||align=center|31||align=center|67||align=center|66||align=center|24||align=center|65||align=center|135||align=center|55||align=center|132
+
| Incumbents with no primary or general
 +
| align="center" | 55
 +
| align="center" | 182
 +
| align="center" | 237
 +
 
 
|-
 
|-
| align=left|No Candidates||align=center|0||align=center|0||align=center|3||align=center|7||align=center|2||align=center|1||align=center|7||align=center|2||align=center|4
+
| % with no primary or general
 +
| align="center" | 38.2%
 +
| align="center" | 55.3%
 +
| align="center" | 50.1%
 
|}
 
|}
''Note'': In 2009, only the [[New Jersey General Assembly elections, 2009|General Assembly]] held elections. [[New Jersey State Senate|Senators]] are elected to four-year terms (except in the year after [[Redistricting in New Jersey|redistricting]], like 2011, when they receive two-year terms).
 
  
*Total contested primaries have increased from '''18''' in 2007 to '''24''' in 2011
+
==Major party candidates with no competition==
*While the number of incumbents contested has increased from '''10''' in 2007 to '''12''' in 2011, the number of uncontested incumbents has grown even more. In 2007, '''53''' incumbents were uncontested but '''63''' will advance straight to the general election in 2011 due to a decrease in open seats.
+
::''See also: [[Major party candidates with major party competition in the November 2011 state legislative elections]]''
*The total number of uncontested primaries has stayed largely the same -- '''135''' in 2007 and '''132''' in 2011.  
+
 
*When combining all 400 primaries over the past 3 elections, '''322''' -- or '''80.5%''' -- of all primaries have been uncontested.
+
There are [[state senators|1,971 state senators]] and [[state representatives|5,413 state representatives]]. In 2011, there were only 77 third party legislators out of 7,384 total state legislators. Of those 77, 49 were [[Nebraska State Senate|Nebraska State Senators]], where all candidates must run as a non-partisan. Thus, a major party candidate is virtually guaranteed election when facing third parties.
 +
* In 65 (38.0%) of the 171 senate seats up for election, there was only one major party candidate running for election
 +
* In 181 (44.5%) of the 407 house seats up for election, there was only one major party candidate running for election
 +
* Given that major party candidates win nearly 100% of the time, a candidate running without any major party opposition is essentially assured election -- even if there are third party candidates.
 +
'''There was only one major party candidate in 246 (42.6%) of the 578 seats up for election''' in 2010. Nearly 1 in 2 districts holding elections in 2011 fielded only one major party candidate.
 +
 
 +
==Methodology==
 +
===Primary competitiveness===
 +
Using the official primary candidate lists from each state, staff members analyzed each district's race to look for the following circumstances:
 +
*No incumbent running with only one candidate
 +
*No incumbent running with a contested primary
 +
*Incumbent is running uncontested
 +
*Incumbent is running in a contested primary
 +
*No candidate has declared
 +
===General election competitiveness===
 +
Using the official candidate lists from each state, staff members analyzed each district's race to look for the following circumstances:
 +
:* Incumbent is not running
 +
:* Incumbent faces a primary challenger
 +
:* Only one major party candidate in the general election
 +
 
 +
After the raw data was obtained, our staff analyzed the states to determine if there was noticeable partisan difference as well as the difference between states with and without term limits.
 +
 
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
  
* [[State legislative elections, 2011]]<br>
+
* [[State legislative elections, 2011]]
 
* [[2010 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index]]
 
* [[2010 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index]]
  
 
{{state legislatures}}
 
{{state legislatures}}
 
[[Category:Competitiveness analysis of state legislative elections, 2011]]
 
[[Category:Competitiveness analysis of state legislative elections, 2011]]
 +
[[Category:Competitiveness analysis of state legislative elections reports by year]]

Latest revision as of 17:05, 6 June 2013

2011 Competitiveness Overview
3Competitive 2011.jpg
Primary competition (state comparison)
Incumbents with no challenges at all in 2011
Incumbents defeatedVictorious challengers
Primary competitiveness
Major party challengers (state comparison)
List of candidates with no competition
Open seats (state comparisons)
Impact of term limits on # of open seats
Long-serving senatorsLong-serving reps
Star bookmark.png   Chart Comparing 2011 Results   Star bookmark.png
Chart Comparing 2011 ResultsComparisons Between Years
Competitiveness IndexAbsolute Index
2011 State Legislative Elections
Competitiveness Studies from Other Years
2007200920102012

By Geoff Pallay

578 seats of the country's 7,384 state legislative seats were up for election in the November 8, 2011 state legislative elections.

This article is an overview of our analysis of the degree of competitiveness in 2011's state legislative elections. The analysis utilized this 3-factor "Competitiveness Index".

Objectives

  • To know which states have the most competitive electoral environment and which states have the least competitive electoral environments in 2011.
  • To collect data about the overall competitiveness of the 2011 state legislative elections. In 2010, "when we first started building state-by-state lists of state legislative candidates, we were surprised at the number of seats where there was minimal or no competition. It was especially surprising because many observers on the national level regard 2010 as a highly-competitive election environment." The picture that emerged as we continued our study suggests that this is not the case at the level of state legislative elections, despite a relatively high degree of voter discontent. Our guess is that even many highly-engaged or newly-engaged political activists are unaware of the opportunities that exist for expanded electoral competitiveness at the level of state legislative elections. These observations led us to develop and present an empirical study of this phenomenon.
  • To develop a Competitiveness Index that can used in future years, so that political observers can assess the ebb and flow of state legislative election competitiveness over time.

Open seats

2011 state legislative elections analyzed using a Competitiveness Index
See also: Open seats in the 2011 state legislative elections

In 473 (81.8%) of the 578 seats up for election on November 8, the incumbent ran for re-election.

In 105 (18.2%) of the 578 seats up for election on November 8, the incumbent did not run for re-election.

  • Alternatively, of the 578 legislative seats up for election in 2011, 562 incumbents could, legally, have run again in 2011.
  • Of those 562 seats, 92 incumbents (16.4%) who could have run again in 2011 chose not to.

After adjusting for term limited state legislators, 83.6% of the incumbents who were legally able to run again in 2011 chose to run again.

Incumbents in primaries

See also: Incumbents with no primary challenger in the 2011 state legislative elections

95 incumbents faced a primary challenger in 2011.

Since 473 incumbents ran for re-election in 2011, that means that only 20.1% of them faced a primary challenger.

378 incumbents (79.9%) running for re-election in 2011 had no primary challenger.

Although this data did not come into play in our Competitiveness Index, we also noted that of the 145 incumbents who did have a challenger:

Altogether, 8 incumbent state legislators who ran for re-election in 2011 lost in a primary. This is 5.5% of the 145 who had primary opposition. It is 1.7%, when compared to the 473 incumbents running for re-election.

Although we didn't use this factor in calculating the overall degree of competitiveness of the 2011 state legislative elections, we also collected information about which incumbents had no primary election challenge and no general election challenge.

According to our data, about one half of incumbents -- 50.1% exactly -- faced no challenge at any level of the 2011 election.

Status Senate House Total
Seats up 171 407 578
Incumbents running 144 329 473
 % with no incumbent 15.8% 19.2% 18.2%
Incumbents with no primary 116 262 378
 % with no primary 80.6% 79.6% 79.9%
Candidates with no major party opposition 64 181 245
 % with no major party opposition 37.4% 44.5% 42.4%
Incumbents with no primary or general 55 182 237
 % with no primary or general 38.2% 55.3% 50.1%

Major party candidates with no competition

See also: Major party candidates with major party competition in the November 2011 state legislative elections

There are 1,971 state senators and 5,413 state representatives. In 2011, there were only 77 third party legislators out of 7,384 total state legislators. Of those 77, 49 were Nebraska State Senators, where all candidates must run as a non-partisan. Thus, a major party candidate is virtually guaranteed election when facing third parties.

  • In 65 (38.0%) of the 171 senate seats up for election, there was only one major party candidate running for election
  • In 181 (44.5%) of the 407 house seats up for election, there was only one major party candidate running for election
  • Given that major party candidates win nearly 100% of the time, a candidate running without any major party opposition is essentially assured election -- even if there are third party candidates.

There was only one major party candidate in 246 (42.6%) of the 578 seats up for election in 2010. Nearly 1 in 2 districts holding elections in 2011 fielded only one major party candidate.

Methodology

Primary competitiveness

Using the official primary candidate lists from each state, staff members analyzed each district's race to look for the following circumstances:

  • No incumbent running with only one candidate
  • No incumbent running with a contested primary
  • Incumbent is running uncontested
  • Incumbent is running in a contested primary
  • No candidate has declared

General election competitiveness

Using the official candidate lists from each state, staff members analyzed each district's race to look for the following circumstances:

  • Incumbent is not running
  • Incumbent faces a primary challenger
  • Only one major party candidate in the general election

After the raw data was obtained, our staff analyzed the states to determine if there was noticeable partisan difference as well as the difference between states with and without term limits.

See also