Difference between revisions of "Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States"

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Some states are characterized as "red" and others as "blue". This characterization is typically based on how the state’s electorate voted in the most recent presidential election. Here, we propose an alternative method of identifying the partisan dispositions of states. We do this by looking for "partisan trifectas": instances where a state elects the same party to the Office of Governor as it does to control of its two legislative chambers.
 
Some states are characterized as "red" and others as "blue". This characterization is typically based on how the state’s electorate voted in the most recent presidential election. Here, we propose an alternative method of identifying the partisan dispositions of states. We do this by looking for "partisan trifectas": instances where a state elects the same party to the Office of Governor as it does to control of its two legislative chambers.
  
The "partisan trifecta" analysis puts seven states in a different partisan column than the presidential vote analysis does: In 2012 voters in six states with Republican trifectas cast their ballot for President Obama. [[West Virginia]] on the other hand voted Republican for president while maintaining a Democratic trifecta for its state government.
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The "partisan trifecta" analysis puts seven states in a different partisan column than the presidential vote analysis does: In 2012 voters in six states with Republican trifectas ([[Florida]], [[Michigan]], [[Ohio]], [[Pennsylvania]], [[Virginia]] and [[Wisconsin]]) cast their ballot for [[Barack Obama|President Obama]]. [[West Virginia]] on the other hand voted Republican for president while maintaining a Democratic trifecta for its state government.
  
We also studied the partisan breakdown of the executive and legislative branches of state government from 1992 to 2013. The trifecta analysis over this period shows a notable trend toward one-party control of state governments. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 states with had trifectas while 31 states had divided governments.  In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas hold sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years we studied. The number of states with trifectas doubled between 1992 and 2013.
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We also studied the partisan breakdown of the executive and legislative branches of state government from 1992 to 2013. The partisan trifecta analysis over this period shows a notable trend toward one-party control of state governments. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 states with had trifectas while 31 states had divided governments.  In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas hold sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years we studied. The number of states with trifectas doubled between 1992 and 2013.
  
 
The trifecta analysis also allowed us to identify seven states that have experienced dramatic changes in partisan state government control from the first 11 years of the study to the last 11 years of the study. Studying the partisan composition of state governments as we do also allows a clean way to assess whether a state is "moving red" or "moving blue".
 
The trifecta analysis also allowed us to identify seven states that have experienced dramatic changes in partisan state government control from the first 11 years of the study to the last 11 years of the study. Studying the partisan composition of state governments as we do also allows a clean way to assess whether a state is "moving red" or "moving blue".

Revision as of 20:47, 21 May 2013


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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
Contents
1 Part One: Partisanship
1.1 Executive Summary
1.2 Visualizations
1.3 Infographic
2 Part Two: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)
3 Part Three: Overlaying Partisanship and (SQLI)

By Geoff Pallay
May 2013

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.

Part One examines the partisanship of state government from 1992-2013. Part Two will establish a State Quality of Life Index (SQLI), aggregating a variety of existing state indices into one measurement. Part Three will then overlay the two reports, looking for trends and correlations.

Part One: Partisanship

Partisanship of the 50 states between 1992-2013

To read the full report in PDF form, click here.

Ballotpedia's analysis of partisan affiliation of each of the 50 states has seven sections. A separate page is devoted to each of seven sections. A summary of each section is presented on this page.

Executive Summary

Some states are characterized as "red" and others as "blue". This characterization is typically based on how the state’s electorate voted in the most recent presidential election. Here, we propose an alternative method of identifying the partisan dispositions of states. We do this by looking for "partisan trifectas": instances where a state elects the same party to the Office of Governor as it does to control of its two legislative chambers.

The "partisan trifecta" analysis puts seven states in a different partisan column than the presidential vote analysis does: In 2012 voters in six states with Republican trifectas (Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin) cast their ballot for President Obama. West Virginia on the other hand voted Republican for president while maintaining a Democratic trifecta for its state government.

We also studied the partisan breakdown of the executive and legislative branches of state government from 1992 to 2013. The partisan trifecta analysis over this period shows a notable trend toward one-party control of state governments. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 states with had trifectas while 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas hold sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years we studied. The number of states with trifectas doubled between 1992 and 2013.

The trifecta analysis also allowed us to identify seven states that have experienced dramatic changes in partisan state government control from the first 11 years of the study to the last 11 years of the study. Studying the partisan composition of state governments as we do also allows a clean way to assess whether a state is "moving red" or "moving blue".

Finally, our review of partisan control of state governments from 1992 through 2013 provides a superior way of assessing just how "red" or "blue" a state is. Is a state "bright blue", "medium blue" or "soft blue"? Is a state "bright red", "medium red" or "soft red"? To the extent that pundits, journalists or members of the voting public want to praise or blame political parties for the real-world economic, educational, health or other quality-of-life outcomes in a particular state, the degree of "redness" or "blueness" of that state’s partisan composition may be relevant. This report is Part One of a three-part study. Part Two aggregates a variety of state ranking indices to create a quality of life index for the 50 states. Part Three overlays the partisanship data with the quality of life index.

Visualizations

Legend for State government trifecta visualization -- Figures 10 and 11

Legend for State government visualization with Presidential Voting -- Figures 19 and 20

Infographic

This infographic was created by Attwood Digital

Part Two: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)

To be released later in 2013

Part Three: Overlaying Partisanship and (SQLI)

To be released later in 2013

Research staff

Special thanks to Andy Marshall, Luke Seeley, Steven Ellis and Phil Sletten for their tireless work and research, without which this report would not have been possible.

See also

External links