Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Kentucky

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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 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

Kentucky Governor

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.

Kentucky Senate

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.

The chart below shows the partisan composition of the Office of the Governor of Kentucky, the Kentucky State Senate and the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1992-2013.

Partisan composition of Kentucky state government(1992-2013).PNG

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.

Kentucky legislature pie chart 1992-2013.png
Kentucky government pie chart 1992-2013.png
Kentucky gubernatorial pie chart 1992-2013.png

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.[1]

  • 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
Index 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 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
CAFR Debt/GDP 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 29 26 32 35 35 38 37 N/A
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
Graduation Rate 36 36 37 33 24 31 33 32 36 36 34 37 36 38 38 34 29 24 27 32 22
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
Poverty Rate 46 47 45 35 43 40 33 31 38 33 40 41 49 40 46 46 46 44 44 37 N/A
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
Unemployment Rate 27 26 25 35 35 40 32 36 33 38 30 39 37 44 46 47 44 40 38 39 33
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
Voter Turnout 42 49 49 38 38 28 28 35 35 38 38 34 34 30 30 41 41 27 27 39 39
Well-Being Index 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 48 49 49 49 49

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
Chart displaying the partisanship of Kentucky government from 1992-2013 and the State Quality of Life Index (SQLI).

See also

External links

Footnotes

  1. 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.