Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, New Jersey

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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 New Jersey performed in the study.

New Jersey breakdown

  • Over the past 22 years, the New Jersey government has been divided for eight years and had 14 total trifectas.
    • Of these 14 trifectas, six were Democratic and eight were Republican.
  • There were 10 years of Democratic governors and 12 of Republican governors during this period.
  • The New Jersey legislature has been split for two years, under Democratic control for 10 years, and under Republican control for 10 years.

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.

Specific reports

Partisan control changes

There were four partisan control changes in New Jersey during the study period. The average number of changes in the 50 states was four, putting New Jersey at the average.

Quality of life results

New Jersey’s average ranking among all quality of life indices was 14. During the 14 years when New Jersey had a trifecta, the average ranking was 13.57. During the eight years when New Jersey had a Republican trifecta, the average ranking was 9.75. During the six years when New Jersey had a Democratic trifecta, the average ranking was 18.67. During the eight years when New Jersey had divided government, the average ranking was 21.86. These results indicate a better outcome under a Republican trifecta than under either a Democratic trifecta or a divided government.

Correlation of partisanship with quality of life

Using a panel data regression with fixed effects, we explored the correlations between New Jersey’s partisanship and the performance of the state relative to other states over time. To indicate partisanship, we used our coding of one to nine (1 to 9) based on the specific combination of party control of institutions outlined in the “Overall Partisanship” section of the main report. 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 New Jersey tends to have a higher performance ranking two years after having a more Democratic government. This finding is statistically significant and indicates a non-zero relationship between the two variables, but its explanatory power is very limited, and should only be interpreted as weak correlation without further research. For more information, see Appendix C: Key Values for Individual State Regressions.

See also

External links

  • [Full Dataset on Google Docs]