Political party strength in U.S. states refers to the level of representation of the various political parties of the U.S. in each statewide 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 better 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 Connecticut.
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 16 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 September 2019, Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrat, 29% identified as Republican, and 38% as Independent. Additionally, polling showed that 49% are either "Democrats or Democratic leaners" and 44% are either "Republicans or Republican leaners" when Independents are asked "do you lean more to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?"
In 2018, the number of competitive states dropped down to 10, the lowest number since 2008. From 2017 to 2018, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Pennsylvania moved from competitive to lean Democratic, while West Virginia, Louisiana, and Indiana moved from competitive to lean Republican, and Nebraska moved from lean Republican to competitive.
As of 2018, Massachusetts was the most Democratic state, with 56% of residents identifying as Democrat, while only 27% of residents identified as Republican. Wyoming was the most Republican state, with 59% of residents identifying as Republican, and only 25% of residents identifying as Democrat.
|Number of U.S. States|
|Year||Solid Dem||Lean Dem||Competitive||Lean GOP||Solid GOP||Net Dem|
Another metric to measure how much a state leans towards one party or the other is the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI). Cook PVIs are calculated by comparing a state's average Democratic Party or Republican Party share of the two-party presidential vote in the past two presidential elections to the nation's average share of the same. PVIs for the states over time can be used to show the trends of U.S. states towards, or away from, one party or the other.
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 2019 , 28 states and the District of Columbia allow registered voters to indicate a party preference when registering to vote; the following 20 states (mostly in the South and the Midwest) do not provide for party preferences in voter registration: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, 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 2014 whenever possible) where indicated. Only Wyoming has a majority of registered voters identifying themselves as Republicans; two states have a majority of registered voters identifying themselves as Democrats: Maryland and Kentucky (since 2010, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have all seen their Democratic-majority registrations slip to just Democratic-pluralities).
For those states that do not allow for registration by party, Gallup's annual polling of voter party identification by state is the next best metric of party strength in the U.S. states. The partisan figures in the table below for the 22 states that don't register voters by party come from Gallup's 2017 polling of voter party identification by state.
|Governor||State Senate||State House||Senior
|U.S. House of Representatives||Partisan split (as of 2017)|
|Alabama||Republican||Republican||Republican 27-8||Republican 77-28||Republican||Democratic||Republican 6-1||Republican|
|Alaska||Republican||Republican||Republican 13-7||Coalition 23-17(a)||Republican||Republican||Republican||Republican|
|Arizona||Republican||Republican||Republican 17-13||Republican 31-29||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 5-4||Republican|
|Arkansas||Republican||Republican||Republican 26-9||Republican 76-24||Republican||Republican||Republican 4||Republican|
|California||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 29-11||Democratic 61-19||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 46-7||Democratic|
|Colorado||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 19-16||Democratic 41-24||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 4-3||Republican|
|Connecticut||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 22-14||Democratic 91-60||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 5||Democratic|
|Delaware||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 12-9||Democratic 26-15||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic|
|Florida||Republican||Republican||Republican 23-17||Republican 73-47||Republican||Republican||Republican 14-13||Democratic|
|Georgia||Republican||Republican||Republican 35-21||Republican 105-75||Republican||Republican||Republican 9-5||Democratic|
|Hawaii||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 24-1||Democratic 46-5||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2||Democratic|
|Idaho||Republican||Republican||Republican 28-7||Republican 56-14||Republican||Republican||Republican 2||Republican|
|Illinois||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 40-19||Democratic 74-44||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 13-5||Democratic|
|Indiana||Republican||Republican||Republican 40-10||Republican 67-33||Republican||Republican||Republican 7-2||Republican|
|Iowa||Republican||Republican||Republican 32-18||Republican 53-47||Republican||Republican||Democratic 3-1||Republican|
|Kansas||Republican||Democratic||Republican 28-11-1(a)||Republican 84-41||Republican||Republican||Republican 3-1||Republican|
|Kentucky||Republican||Democratic(h)||Republican 29-9||Republican 61-39||Republican||Republican||Republican 5-1||Democratic|
|Louisiana||Republican||Democratic||Republican 27-12||Republican 68-35-2(a)||Republican||Republican||Republican 5-1||Democratic|
|Maine||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 21-14||Democratic 89-56-6(a)||Republican||Independent(f)||Democratic 2||Democratic|
|Maryland||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 32-15||Democratic 99-42||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic
|Massachusetts||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 34-6||Democratic 127-32-1||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 9||Democratic|
|Michigan||Republican||Democratic||Republican 22-16||Republican 58-52||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 7-6-1(g)||Democratic|
|Minnesota||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 35-32||Democratic 75-59||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 5-3||Democratic|
|Mississippi||Republican||Republican||Republican 36-16||Republican 75-46-1(b)||Republican||Republican||Republican 3-1||Republican|
|Missouri||Republican||Republican||Republican 24-10||Republican 116-47||Republican||Republican||Republican 6-2||Republican|
|Montana||Republican||Democratic||Republican 30-20||Republican 58-42||Democratic||Republican||Republican||Republican|
|Nebraska||Republican||Republican||Unicameral nonpartisan legislature(c)||Republican||Republican||Republican 3||Republican|
|Nevada||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 13-8||Democratic 29-13||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 3-1||Democratic|
|New Hampshire||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 14-10||Democratic 234-166||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2||Republican|
|New Jersey||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 25-15||Democratic 54-26||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 11-1||Democratic|
|New Mexico||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 26-16||Democratic 46-24||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 3||Democratic|
|New York||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 40-22-1||Democratic 106-43-1(a)||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 21-5-1(b, g)||Democratic|
|North Carolina||Republican||Democratic||Republican 29-21||Republican 65-55||Republican||Republican||Republican 10-3||Democratic|
|North Dakota||Republican||Republican||Republican 37-10||Republican 79-15||Republican||Republican||Republican||Republican|
|Ohio||Republican||Republican||Republican 24-9||Republican 61-38||Democratic||Republican||Republican 12-4||Republican|
|Oklahoma||Republican||Republican||Republican 39-9||Republican 77-24||Republican||Republican||Republican 4-1||Republican|
|Oregon||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 18-12||Democratic 38-22||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 4-1||Democratic|
|Pennsylvania||Republican||Democratic||Republican 28-22||Republican 110-93||Democratic||Republican||Tied 9-9||Democratic|
|Rhode Island||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 33-5||Democratic 66-9||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2||Democratic|
|South Carolina||Republican||Republican||Republican 27-19||Republican 80-44||Republican||Republican||Republican 5-2||Republican|
|South Dakota||Republican||Republican||Republican 30-5||Republican 59-11||Republican||Republican||Republican||Republican|
|Tennessee||Republican||Republican||Republican 28-5||Republican 73-26||Republican||Republican||Republican 7-2||Republican|
|Texas||Republican||Republican||Republican 19-12||Republican 83-67||Republican||Republican||Republican 23-13||Republican|
|Utah||Republican||Republican||Republican 23-6||Republican 59-16||Republican||Republican||Republican 3-1||Republican|
|Vermont||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 22-6-2(a)||Democratic 95-43-12(a)||Democratic||Independent(f)||Democratic||Democratic|
|Virginia||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 21-19||Democratic 55-45||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 7-4||Democratic|
|Washington||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 29-20||Democratic 57-41||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 7-3||Democratic|
|West Virginia||Republican||Republican||Republican 20-14||Republican 59-41||Democratic||Republican||Republican 3||Democratic|
|Wisconsin||Republican||Democratic||Republican 19-14||Republican 63-36||Republican||Democratic||Republican
|Wyoming||Republican||Republican||Republican 27-3||Republican 50-9-1||Republican||Republican||Republican||Republican|
(after 2016 Election)
(after 2018 Elections)
|U.S. House of
Representatives (October 2019)
(after 2019 Elections)
State Senate (after 2019 Elections)
State House (after 2019 Elections)
|Republican 306-232||Republican 53-47(f)||Democratic 233-197-1-4(g)||Republican 26-24||Republican 31-19||Republican 28-20-1(a)|
(a) The Alaska House of Representatives is controlled by a coalition of 15 Democrats, 6 Republicans and 2 Independents.
(c) While the Nebraska Legislature is technically non-partisan, the majority of its Senators are de facto Republicans.
(d) Indicated partisan breakdown numbers are from the registration-by-party figures ("active" registered voters, when applicable) from that state's registered voter statistics (late 2014 party registration figures provided whenever possible).
(e) Indicated partisan breakdown numbers are from the Party Identification by State figures for 2014 from Gallup polling (note: Gallup figures have been rounded to two significant figures on the assumption that figures from polling are less accurate than registration-by-party figures).
(f) Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME) are independents; however, they caucus with Senate Democrats and, as such, are included in that party's total number of Senators for the purposes of calculating partisan breakdown in this article.
(g) The US House of Representatives currently consists of 234 Democrats, 197 Republicans, and 1 Independent (Rep. Justin Amash (I, MI-03), who was elected as a Republican but left the party on July 4, 2019). 3 seats are vacant (WI-07, held by Republican Rep. Sean Duffy until his September 23, 2019 resignation; NY-27, represented by Republican Rep. Chris Collins until his October 1, 2019 resignation; MD-07, held by Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings until his death on October 17, 2019) and CA-25, held by Democrat [[Katie Hill|Rep. Katie Hill] until her resignation on October 27, 2019.
(h) Andrew Beshear was elected as Governor of Kentucky on November 5, 2019, and he is scheduled to take office December 10.
Local and regional political circumstances often influence party strength.
The following figure is for Governors as of December 10, 2019:
The following figures for party control of state legislative chambers are as of January 2019:
The following is based on the results of the 2016 Presidential election:
The following are the current standings in the U.S. Senate and in the U.S. House as of the 116th Congress:
|U.S. party percentages by state (2017)|
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.
The following table describes how many state governments were fully controlled by either party or split.
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