Political party strength in U.S. states

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Throughout most of the 20th century, although the Republican and Democratic parties alternated in power at a national level, some states were so overwhelmingly dominated by one party that nomination was usually tantamount to election. This was especially true in the Solid South, where the Democratic Party was dominant for the best part of a century, from the end of Reconstruction in the late 1870s, through the period of Jim Crow Laws into the 1960s. Conversely, the New England states of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire were dominated by the Republican Party, as were some Midwestern states like Iowa and North Dakota.

However, in the 1970s and 1980s, the increasingly conservative Republican Party gradually overtook the Democrats in the southeast. The Democrats' support in the formerly Solid South had been eroded during the vast cultural, political and economic upheaval that surrounded the 1960s. By the 1990s the Republican Party had completed the transition into the southeast's dominant political party, despite typically having fewer members due to the prevalence of Republican voting generational Democrats. In New England, the opposite trend took place; the former Republican strongholds of Maine and Vermont became solidly Democratic, as did formerly Republican areas of New Jersey, New York, and other states.

Currently, the majority of the overall number of seats held in the state legislatures has been switching between the two parties every few years. As of the U.S. gubernatorial elections of 2010, the Republican party holds an outright majority of approximately 440 with 3,890 seats (53% of total) compared to the Democratic party's number of 3,450 (47% of total) seats elected on a partisan ballot.[1] Of the 7,382 seats in all of the state legislatures combined, independents and third parties account for only 15 members, not counting the 49 members of the Nebraska Legislature, which is the only legislature in the nation to hold non-partisan elections to determine its members. Due to the results of the 2010 elections, Republicans took control of an additional 19 state legislative chambers, giving them majority control of both chambers in 25 states versus the Democrats' majority control of both chambers in only 16 states, with 8 states having split or inconclusive control of both chambers (not including Nebraska); previous to the 2010 elections, it was Democrats who controlled both chambers in 27 states versus the Republican party having total control in only 14 states, with eight states divided and Nebraska being nonpartisan.[2]

Current party strength[edit]

Gallup[edit]

As of 2010, Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrats (tying a 22-year low), 29% as Republicans, and 38% as independents.[3] By 2011 Gallup found that Americans identifying as independents had risen to 40 percent. Gallup's historical data show that the proportion of independents in 2011 was the largest in 60 years. This increase came at the expense of Republican identification, which dropped to 27%, while Democratic identification held steady from 2011. Nevertheless, more American independents leaned to the Republican Party when compared to the Democratic Party. Combining leaners with each party's core identifiers, for 2011 the parties ended up tied at 45 percent.[4]

In 2011 Gallup found seventeen states safely Republican or leaning Republican, up from 10 in 2010 and 5 in 2008. A total of 19 states (including the District of Columbia) were safe or leaning Democratic, down from 23 in 2010 and 36 in 2008. Gallup observed that the "greatest movement away from the Democratic Party came between 2009 and 2010, when the number of states with a Democratic advantage fell from 34 to 23". In 15 states no party had a clear political advantage for 2011. Gallup concluded that "President Obama faces a much less favorable environment as he seeks a second term in office than he did when he was elected president."[5]

Rasmussen[edit]

Monthly Rasmussen Reports tracking of partisan trends found that in June 2012, 35.4% identified as Republicans, 34.0% as Democrats and 30.5% were unaffiliated. These numbers changed only slightly from the previous month.[6]

Elections and voter registrations[edit]

The following table shows all the U.S. states and to what party (Democratic or Republican) their state governors belong. Also indicated is the majority party of the state legislatures' upper and lower houses as well as U.S. Senate representation. Nebraska's legislature is unicameral, i.e., it has only one legislative house and is officially non-partisan, though party affiliation still has an unofficial influence on the legislative process.

The simplest measure of the party strength in a state's voting population is the breakdown-by-party totals from its voter registration figures (figures that can easily be obtained from the websites of the Secretaries of State or the Boards of Elections of the various states). As of 2010, 28 states and the District of Columbia allow registered voters to indicate a party preference when registering to vote; the following 22 states (mostly in the South and the Midwest) do not provide for party preferences in voter registration: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. The partisan breakdown "demographics" provided in the following table are obtained from that state's party registration figures (from late 2010 whenever possible) where indicated. Only Wyoming has a majority of registered voters identifying themselves as Republicans; five states have a majority of registered voters identifying themselves as Democrats: Maryland, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

State2012 Presidential
Election
GovernorUpper House
Majority
Lower House
Majority
Senior
U.S. Senator
Junior
U.S. Senator
U.S. House
Delegation
Demographics
AlabamaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 22-12-1(a)Republican 65-39-1(b)RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 6-1Republican
48-34
AlaskaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 13-7Republican 25-15RepublicanDemocraticRepublican 1-0Republican
26-15(d)
ArizonaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 17-13Republican 36-24RepublicanRepublicanDemocratic 5-4Republican
36-32(d)
ArkansasRepublicanDemocraticRepublican 21-14Republican 51-49DemocraticRepublicanRepublican 4-0Democratic
41-31
CaliforniaDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 28-11-1(b)Democratic 54-25-1(b)DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 38-15Democratic
44-31(d)
ColoradoDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 18-17Democratic 37-28DemocraticDemocraticRepublican 4-3Tied
32-32(d)
ConnecticutDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 22-14Democratic 98-53DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 5-0Democratic
37-20(d)
DelawareDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 13-8Democratic 27-14DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 1-0Democratic
47-29(d)
FloridaDemocraticRepublicanRepublican 26-14Republican 75-45DemocraticRepublicanRepublican 17-10Democratic
41-36(d)
GeorgiaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 38-18Republican 119-60-1(a)RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 9-5Republican
44-32
HawaiiDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 24-1Democratic 44-7DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 2-0Democratic
40-23
IdahoRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 29-6Republican 57-13RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 2-0Republican
50-22
IllinoisDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 40-19Democratic 71-47DemocraticRepublicanDemocratic 12-6Democratic
46-31
IndianaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 37-13Republican 69-31RepublicanDemocraticRepublican 7-2Republican
46-32
IowaDemocraticRepublicanDemocratic 26-24Republican 53-47RepublicanDemocraticTied 2-2Tied
32-32(d)
KansasRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 31-9Republican 92-33RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 4-0Republican
44-27(d)
KentuckyRepublicanDemocraticRepublican 22-15-1(a)Democratic 55-45RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 5-1Democratic
54.7-38[7]
LouisianaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 26-13Republican 59-44-2(a)DemocraticRepublicanRepublican 5-1Democratic
51-26(d)
MaineDemocraticRepublicanDemocratic 19-15-1(a)Democratic 89-58-4(a)RepublicanIndependent(a)Democratic 2-0Democratic
33-28(d)
MarylandDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 35-12Democratic 98-43DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 7-1Democratic
56-27(d)
MassachusettsDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 36-4Democratic 131-29DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 9-0Democratic
37-11(d)
MichiganDemocraticRepublicanRepublican 26-12Republican 59-51DemocraticDemocraticRepublican 9-5Democratic
40-33
MinnesotaDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 39-28Democratic 73-61DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 5-3Democratic
46-30
MississippiRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 30-22Republican 64-58RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 3-1Republican
47-38
MissouriRepublicanDemocraticRepublican 28-10Republican 110-53DemocraticRepublicanRepublican 6-2Republican
39-37
MontanaRepublicanDemocraticRepublican 27-23Republican 63-37DemocraticDemocraticRepublican 1-0Republican
39-32
NebraskaRepublicanRepublicanUnicameral nonpartisan legislature(c)RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 3-0Republican
48-34(d)
NevadaDemocraticRepublicanDemocratic 11-10Democratic 27-15DemocraticRepublicanTied 2-2Democratic
42-37(d)
New HampshireDemocraticDemocraticRepublican 13-11Democratic 221-179DemocraticRepublicanDemocratic 2-0Tied
29-29(g)
New JerseyDemocraticRepublicanDemocratic 24-16Democratic 48-32DemocraticDemocraticTied 6-6Democratic
33-20(d)
New MexicoDemocraticRepublicanDemocratic 27-15Democratic 38-32DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 2-1Democratic
48-32(d)
New YorkDemocraticDemocraticCoalition 36-27Democratic 105-44-1(a)DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 21-6Democratic
49-25(d)
North CarolinaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 32-18Republican 77-43RepublicanDemocraticRepublican 9-4Democratic
45-32(d)
North DakotaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 33-13-1(b)Republican 71-23RepublicanDemocraticRepublican 1-0Republican
38-29
OhioDemocraticRepublicanRepublican 23-10Republican 60-39DemocraticRepublicanRepublican 12-4Republican
37-36
OklahomaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 36-12Republican 72-29RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 5-0Democratic
49-40(d)
OregonDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 16-14Democratic 34-26DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 4-1Democratic
42-32(d)
PennsylvaniaDemocraticRepublicanRepublican 27-23Republican 110-93DemocraticRepublicanRepublican 13-5Democratic
51-37(d)
Rhode IslandDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 32-5-1(a)Democratic 69-6DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 2-0Democratic
38-11(d)
South CarolinaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 28-18Republican 76-46RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 6-1Republican
44-33
South DakotaRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 28-7Republican 53-17DemocraticRepublicanRepublican 1-0Republican
46-38(d)
TennesseeRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 26-7Republican 71-27-1(a)RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 7-2Republican
38-34
TexasRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 19-12Republican 95-55RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 24-12Republican
45-21
UtahRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 24-5Republican 61-14RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 3-1Republican
56-20
VermontDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 23-7Democratic 98-44-8(a)DemocraticIndependent(a)Democratic 1-0Democratic
29-27
VirginiaDemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 20-20(e)Republican 67-33DemocraticDemocraticRepublican 8-3Republican
39-36
WashingtonDemocraticDemocraticCoalition 26-23Democratic 55-43DemocraticDemocraticDemocratic 6-4Democratic
39-29
West VirginiaRepublicanDemocraticDemocratic 24-10Democratic 54-46DemocraticDemocraticRepublican 2-1Democratic
54-29(d)
WisconsinDemocraticRepublicanRepublican 18-15Republican 60-39RepublicanDemocraticRepublican 5-3Democratic
38-34
WyomingRepublicanRepublicanRepublican 26-4Republican 52-8RepublicanRepublicanRepublican 1-0Republican
63-24(d)
Totals
PresidentU.S. SenateU.S. House of RepresentativesGovernorMajority in Upper Legislative ChamberMajority in Lower Legislative Chamber
Democratic 332-206(g)Democratic 55-45Republican 234-201Republican 29-21Republican 29(c)-19-2(f)Republican 28-21

(a) Independent/Third Party. Independent caucusing with different party.

(b) Vacancy.

(c) While the Nebraska State Senate's technically non-partisan the majority of its members are Republicans.

(d) Indicated partisan breakdown numbers are from the registration-by-party figures from that state's registered voter statistics (late 2010 party registration figures provided whenever possible).

(e) As a result of the special legislative elections in Virginia, the Virginia State Senate is tied between the parties, 20-20. But the Democrat Lt. Governor is allowed to cast tie-breaking votes in the Virginia State Senate, giving Democrats operational control of the chamber.

(f) The Washington State and New York State Senates currently operate under a coalition between Republicans and Democrats.

(g) Results from 2012

Regional breakdowns[edit]

Local and regional political circumstances often influence party strength.

State government[edit]

The following figure is for Governors as of January 2014:

Governor
United States Governors map.svg

The following figures for party control of state legislative chambers are as of February 2013:

UpperLower
Upper House majorityLower House majority

Presidential election results and congressional delegations[edit]

The following is based on the results of the 2012 Presidential election:

Presidential Election
United States Presidential Election 2012.

The following are the current standings in the 113th Congress:

SenateHouse of Representatives
Senators' party affiliations delegation by state.Percent of members of the House of Representatives from each party by state.

Demographics[edit]

USpercentagesbystate.png

Historical party strength[edit]

The following table shows how many state legislatures were controlled outright by each party.[8]

YearDemocratsRepublicansSplit
193821196
194021178
194219243
194419243
194617254
1948191611
195019216
195216264
195419207
195622195
195830711
196027156
196225176
196432610
196623169
196820208
197023169
197226167
19743748
197635410
197831117
198029155
198234114
1984261112
198628912
198829812
199030613
199225816
1994181912
1996201811
1998201712
2000161815
2002181714
2003162112
2004172111
200520209
200724169
2008231512
200927148
201115278
201215287
201317285
201417276

The following table shows how many governorships were controlled outright by each party.[8]

YearDemocratsRepublicansIndependent
19222622
19232721
19242325
19262028
19271929
19281632
193024222
193126202
193236102
19343792
19363873
19373963
19382919
19402820
19422424
19432226
19442523
19462325
19472424
19482820
19502226
19521830
19531929
19542721
19562820
19583515
19603416
19623416
19643317
19662525
19672426
19681931
19691832
19702921
19713020
19723119
19733218
197436131
197637121
19783218
19793119
19802723
19823416
19833515
19843416
19862624
19882822
19892921
199028202
199230182
199329192
199419301
199518311
199617321
199817312
199918302
200019292
200121272
20022426
20042228
20062822
20082921
20092624
201026231
201120291
20132030
20142129

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Republicans Exceed Expectations in 2010 State Legislative Elections - NCLS News (National Conference of State Legislatures)". www.ncls.org. 2010-11-03. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  2. ^ "Red Tide: December 2010, A GOP wave washed over state legislatures on Election Day. - NCLS Election & Campaigns (National Conference of State Legislatures)". www.ncls.org. 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2011-01-22. 
  3. ^ "Democratic Party ID Drops in 2010, Tying 22-Year Low". Gallup. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Record-High 40% of Americans Identify as Independents in '11". Gallup. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "More States Move to GOP in 2011". Gallup. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Partisan Trends". Rasmussen Reports. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  7. ^ http://elect.ky.gov/SiteCollectionDocuments/Election%20Statistics/JAN13STD.txt
  8. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau, The 2011 Statistical Abstract, The National Data Book, Elections: Gubernatorial and State Legislatures". www.census.gov/compendia/statab/. 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2011-01-25.