Oct 10, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Mapped: State muscle

Partisanship in state legislatures
Data: Quorum State; Cartogram: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

There are twice as many states that have solid, Republican-controlled legislatures as those with solid, Democratic-controlled ones, according to Quorum's new 2021 State Legislative Trends Report.

Why it matters: The power of state legislatures has been on national display in recent weeks, with Texas and other states passing voting and abortion restrictions, and coronavirus-related laws, as well as redrawing election district boundaries for the next decade.

  • Sixteen states have solid Republican control, compared to eight states with solid Democratic control.
  • Fourteen states have slight Republican control. Eleven states, plus Washington, D.C., have slight Democratic control.
  • Nebraska has the only unicameral legislature, and does not have any formal party alignments — although most members tend to affiliate with state political parties.

Between the lines: The data reveals how much more control Republicans have over state laws in the U.S., but it also shows which states could most easily be flipped.

  • Minnesota, Arizona, New Hampshire, Michigan and Virginia have the slimmest partisan advantages in their state legislatures. Minnesota has only a 3% Democratic advantage, and Virginia 16%.
  • Of the 10 slimmest state legislature majorities, only three lean Democrat.
  • The rest lean Republican, potentially handing Democrats a shot at taking back control of more state legislatures in upcoming elections.
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