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Political party strength in U.S. states refers to the level of representation of the various political parties of the U.S. in each state-wide elective office providing legislators to the state and to the U.S. Congress and electing the executives at the state (U.S. state governor) and national (U.S. President) level.
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. 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.
As of 2010[update], Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrats (tying a 22-year low), 29% as Republicans, and 38% as independents. 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.
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."
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.
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[update], 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.
|Governor||State Senate||State House||Senior|
|U.S. House of Representatives||Demographics|
|Alabama||Republican||Republican||Republican 22-12-1(a)||Republican 65-39-1(b)||Republican||Republican||Republican 6-1||Republican|
|Alaska||Republican||Republican||Republican 13-7||Republican 25-15||Republican||Democratic||Republican 1-0||Republican|
|Arizona||Republican||Republican||Republican 17-13||Republican 36-24||Republican||Republican||Democratic 5-4||Republican|
|Arkansas||Republican||Democratic||Republican 21-14||Republican 51-49||Democratic||Republican||Republican 4-0||Democratic|
|California||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 28-12||Democratic 54-25-1(b)||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 38-15||Democratic|
|Colorado||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 18-17||Democratic 37-28||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 4-3||Tied|
|Connecticut||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 22-14||Democratic 98-53||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 5-0||Democratic|
|Delaware||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 13-8||Democratic 27-14||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 1-0||Democratic|
|Florida||Democratic||Republican||Republican 26-14||Republican 75-45||Democratic||Republican||Republican 17-10||Democratic|
|Georgia||Republican||Republican||Republican 38-18||Republican 119-60-1(a)||Republican||Republican||Republican 9-5||Republican|
|Hawaii||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 24-1||Democratic 44-7||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2-0||Democratic|
|Idaho||Republican||Republican||Republican 29-6||Republican 57-13||Republican||Republican||Republican 2-0||Republican|
|Illinois||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 40-19||Democratic 71-47||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 12-6||Democratic|
|Indiana||Republican||Republican||Republican 37-13||Republican 69-31||Republican||Democratic||Republican 7-2||Republican|
|Iowa||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 26-24||Republican 53-47||Republican||Democratic||Tied 2-2||Tied|
|Kansas||Republican||Republican||Republican 31-9||Republican 92-33||Republican||Republican||Republican 4-0||Republican|
|Kentucky||Republican||Democratic||Republican 22-15-1(a)||Democratic 55-45||Republican||Republican||Republican 5-1||Democratic|
|Louisiana||Republican||Republican||Republican 26-13||Republican 59-44-2(a)||Democratic||Republican||Republican 5-1||Democratic|
|Maine||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 19-15-1(a)||Democratic 89-58-4(a)||Republican||Independent(a)||Democratic 2-0||Democratic|
|Maryland||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 35-12||Democratic 98-43||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 7-1||Democratic|
|Massachusetts||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 36-4||Democratic 131-29||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 9-0||Democratic|
|Michigan||Democratic||Republican||Republican 26-12||Republican 59-51||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 9-5||Democratic|
|Minnesota||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 39-28||Democratic 73-61||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 5-3||Democratic|
|Mississippi||Republican||Republican||Republican 30-22||Republican 64-58||Republican||Republican||Republican 3-1||Republican|
|Missouri||Republican||Democratic||Republican 28-10||Republican 110-53||Democratic||Republican||Republican 6-2||Republican|
|Montana||Republican||Democratic||Republican 27-23||Republican 63-37||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 1-0||Republican|
|Nebraska||Republican||Republican||Unicameral nonpartisan legislature(c)||Republican||Republican||Republican 3-0||Republican|
|Nevada||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 11-10||Democratic 27-15||Democratic||Republican||Tied 2-2||Democratic|
|New Hampshire||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 13-11||Democratic 221-179||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 2-0||Tied|
|New Jersey||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 24-16||Democratic 48-32||Democratic||Democratic||Tied 6-6||Democratic|
|New Mexico||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 27-15||Democratic 38-32||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2-1||Democratic|
|New York||Democratic||Democratic||Coalition 36-27||Democratic 105-44-1(a)||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 21-6||Democratic|
|North Carolina||Republican||Republican||Republican 32-18||Republican 77-43||Republican||Democratic||Republican 9-4||Democratic|
|North Dakota||Republican||Republican||Republican 33-13-1(b)||Republican 71-23||Republican||Democratic||Republican 1-0||Republican|
|Ohio||Democratic||Republican||Republican 23-10||Republican 60-39||Democratic||Republican||Republican 12-4||Republican|
|Oklahoma||Republican||Republican||Republican 36-12||Republican 72-29||Republican||Republican||Republican 5-0||Democratic|
|Oregon||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 16-14||Democratic 34-26||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 4-1||Democratic|
|Pennsylvania||Democratic||Republican||Republican 27-23||Republican 110-93||Democratic||Republican||Republican 13-5||Democratic|
|Rhode Island||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 32-5-1(a)||Democratic 69-6||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2-0||Democratic|
|South Carolina||Republican||Republican||Republican 28-18||Republican 76-46||Republican||Republican||Republican 6-1||Republican|
|South Dakota||Republican||Republican||Republican 28-7||Republican 53-17||Democratic||Republican||Republican 1-0||Republican|
|Tennessee||Republican||Republican||Republican 26-7||Republican 71-27-1(a)||Republican||Republican||Republican 7-2||Republican|
|Texas||Republican||Republican||Republican 19-12||Republican 95-55||Republican||Republican||Republican 24-12||Republican|
|Utah||Republican||Republican||Republican 24-5||Republican 61-14||Republican||Republican||Republican 3-1||Republican|
|Vermont||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 23-7||Democratic 98-44-8(a)||Democratic||Independent(a)||Democratic 1-0||Democratic|
|Virginia||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 21-18-1(b)||Republican 67-33||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 8-3||Republican|
|Washington||Democratic||Democratic||Coalition 26-23||Democratic 55-43||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 6-4||Democratic|
|West Virginia||Republican||Democratic||Democratic 24-10||Democratic 54-46||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 2-1||Democratic|
|Wisconsin||Democratic||Republican||Republican 18-15||Republican 60-39||Republican||Democratic||Republican 5-3||Democratic|
|Wyoming||Republican||Republican||Republican 26-4||Republican 52-8||Republican||Republican||Republican 1-0||Republican|
|President||U.S. Senate||U.S. House of Representatives||Governor||Majority in State Senate||Majority in State House|
|Democratic 332-206(f)||Democratic 55-45||Republican 234-201||Republican 29-21||Republican 30(c)-18-2(e)||Republican 28-21|
(a) Independent/Third Party. Independent caucusing with different party.
(c) While the Nebraska State Senate is 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).
(f) Results from 2012 elections.
Local and regional political circumstances often influence party strength.
The following figure is for Governors as of January 2014[update]:
The following figures for party control of state legislative chambers are as of February 2013[update]:
|State Senate||State House|
The following is based on the results of the 2012 Presidential election:
The following are the current standings in the 113th Congress:
|Senate||House of Representatives|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
The following table shows how many state legislatures were controlled outright by each party.
The following table shows how many governorships were controlled outright by each party.