Ballotpedia:Who Runs the States, New Jersey
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.
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.
- [Full Dataset on Google Docs]
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