After reading Bob Bilkie’s blog, “Again, “It’s the economy, stupid.”, I was inspired to do more research into the most recent election results. Bob’s blog made the argument that Republicans gained in numbers at the state level where they may have been more concerned about fiscal issues, but voted based on social issues at the national level and favored Democrats. There’s one main flaw in that argument – In state elections the majority of voters did not widely favor Republicans to Democrats.
In Michigan, the most recent House election actually voted less Republican and more Democrats. The makeup in the 2012 Michigan House is 64 Republicans to 46 Democrats. In 2013, it will be 59 Republicans to 51 Democrats. Upon further research on the 2012 statewide elections – the partisan balance of all 99 legislative state chambers will tilt more towards Democrats in 2013. Prior to the 2012 election, Democrats had the majority in 35 of the chambers and Republicans had the majority in 60 of the chambers. After the 2012 elections, Democrats will have the majority of 41 chambers and Republicans will have the majority in 56 chambers. So the Democrats picked up the majority in a number of chambers, however the majority of state chambers remain Republican.
The State Executive Elections (includes Gubernatorial, Attorney General, and other Commissioners) was a slightly different story in 2012 with Republicans picking up 5 executive seats (including one Governor’s office in North Carolina.)
The evidence just doesn’t show that the Republicans actually gained in numbers at the state level. There are many different factors that can impact an election at the state level, including term limits, redistricting, and primary dates, making the data even messier to digest. My conclusion: The economy could still be the main focus of most state elections, but it’s hard to draw a line from Republicans being elected to an influence from fiscal matters.
Comments and questions are welcome.
Marisa A. Lenhard, CFA, CFP®