A Decline in Divided Government in the States

The Thicket at State Legislature, a blog from the National Conference of State Legislatures, pulled together some interesting stats in a story (“A Significant Decline in Divided Government“) that reveals that fewer states now have divided government. After the 2012 election, 23 states have “divided government” when a state has a governor of one party and at least one chamber of the state’s legislature in the hands of the opposite party. As their graph indicates, 23 states with divided government is the lowest level in 50 years. In fact, the drop in divided government in the states is pretty dramatic in since peaking at over 30% in the 1980s.

In a previous post (“The President had Coattails, However Short, in 2012 State Legislative Elections“) they noted that after the 2112 election, Republicans controlled 26 legislatures, the Democrats control 19 Democrat, and 4 legislatures are split (Nebraska has a nonpartisan Legislature). This was similar to the results after the 2010 election except that 4 states moved from split to the Democratic column.

Did Americans voted to continue divided government in Washington while leaning toward unified government in their states? It’s not clear that Americans really wanted a divided national government. In fact, a recent Gallup poll showed support for divided government plunging. It may be the voters are tired of gridlock and will accept one party in control of the federal government if it helps us move ahead. This sentiment might have been muted through the effects of partisan redistricting that made it harder to oust some incumbents.  If so, voters will eventually find a way to create unified government with one party. The question is… which party will it be?

Gallup poll results

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