Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Kentucky
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 Kentucky 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, there were Democratic governors in office for 18 years, including the last six, while there were Republican governors in office for four years. Kentucky is one of seven states that were run by a Democratic governor for more than 80 percent of the years between 1992 and 2013.
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 Kentucky State Senate for the first nine years while the Republicans were the majority for last 13 years.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Kentucky House of Representatives
During every year from 1992 to 2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the Kentucky House of Representatives, one of 16 state houses under Democratic control for more than 80 percent of that period.
Across the country, there were 579 Democratic and 482 Republican State Houses of Representatives from 1992 to 2013.
Partisan control changes
There were three partisan control changes in Kentucky during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting Kentucky slightly lower than the average.
Part 2: State Quality of Life Index (SQLI)
Kentucky’s average ranking over the course of the study period was 46.43, which puts it at 47 in the overall SQLI ranking.
- The years that Kentucky had the highest ranking were 1998 and 1999, in which it ranked 43rd.
- The years that Kentucky had the lowest ranking were 2002-2011, in which it ranked 48th.
- The index type that Kentucky had the highest ranking in was Tax Freedom Day, in which it ranked 13th.
- The index type that Kentucky had the lowest ranking in was the Well-being Index, in which it ranked 49th.
|Kentucky 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||50||44||37|
|America's Health Rankings||45||46||46||44||43||46||45||43||41||43||42||42||43||44||42||44||39||41||44||44||44|
|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||19||33||19||26||23||23||17||25|
|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||34||35||34||40||35||36|
|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||33||41||44||43||31||25||28|
|Govt. Employment Share Population||18||19||20||20||19||18||18||19||21||22||23||23||21||22||22||23||22||21||25||25||31|
|Personal Income Per Capita||41||45||44||43||43||41||40||41||40||43||42||45||45||47||47||48||48||45||44||44||44|
|Real GDP per capita||39||39||39||38||41||35||36||38||44||44||44||44||44||44||43||44||44||43||44||44||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||36||36||36||40||41||43||46||45||45||45||45|
|State Govt. Spending/GDP||37||34||29||31||34||33||33||35||37||39||39||39||41||38||42||42||43||43||44||43||N/A|
|State & local tax burden||33||34||33||39||39||37||36||37||35||37||37||36||31||34||31||31||34||23||25||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||13|
|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||45||45||47||N/A|
Part 3: Partisanship and SQLI Overlay
The chart below depicts the partisanship of the Kentucky 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. Kentucky has been in the bottom-10 of the SQLI ranking regardless of its Democratic trifecta or years under divided government. The state’s highest ranking came in 1998 and 1999 (43rd) under a Democratic trifecta, while the state’s lowest ranking came in between the years 2003 and 2011 (48th) under divided government. The state has never had a Republican trifecta.
- SQLI average with Democratic trifecta: 45.00
- SQLI average with Republican trifecta: N/A
- SQLI average with divided government: 47.31
- Ballotpedia:Who runs the states
- Governor of Kentucky
- Kentucky State Senate
- Kentucky 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 Kentucky
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | State Treasurer | Auditor of Public Accounts | Commissioner of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture | Commissioner of Natural Resources | Secretary of Labor Cabinet | Chairman of Public Services |