Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, Nebraska
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 Nebraska performed in the study.
- Over the past 22 years, the Nebraska government has had seven years of Democratic governors and 15 of Republican governors.
- All 15 years of Republican governors have come in the last 15 years consecutively.
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.
Partisan control changes
There was only one partisan control change in Nebraska during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting Nebraska significantly lower than the average.
Quality of life results
With it’s non-partisan legislature, Nebraska was unable to have any sort of trifecta, but Nebraska’s average ranking among all quality of life indices was 4.
Correlation of partisanship with quality of life
Using a panel data regression with fixed effects, we explored the correlations between Nebraska’s partisanship and the performance of the state relative to other states over time. To indicate partisanship, we adapted our partisan coding to incorporate Nebraska’s nonpartisan legislature, coding a Democratic governor as eight (8) and a Republican governor as two (2). The rankings corresponded with the more complete rankings in our partisanship analysis that coded each type of state government party control on a scale of one to nine (1 to 9). Both of Nebraska’s rankings assumed a split legislature. The performance of the state was determined by the composite ranking of state “Quality of Life” relative to other states described in the “Quality of Life” section of the main report. In our regression analysis, the “Quality of Life” performance ranking served as the dependent variable and the partisan coding of the government two years prior (i.e., a two-year lag) was the independent variable. We introduced the two-year lag to allow some time for the policies of the party governments to influence state’s performance, although the implementation time for many state policies vary widely. These analyses were not designed to definitively show a causal relationship between partisanship and a state’s performance, but rather to explore trends and encourage further research.
This regression analysis shows that Nebraska tends to have a higher performance ranking two years after having a Republican governor. This finding is statistically significant at the ten percent level and indicates a non-zero relationship between the two variables. However, the correlation is very weak, and its explanatory power is limited. Notably, Nebraska has experienced a long period of Republican governors preceded by a long period of Democratic governors in the study period. Thus, instances of variation in state government party control are relatively rare, and other trends and factors may have more explanatory power. These results should only be interpreted as correlation without further research, especially given the unique coding applied to Nebraska in this portion of the study. For more information, see Appendix C: Key Values for Individual State Regressions.
- [Full Dataset on Google Docs]
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