Political party strength in U.S. states is the level of representation of the various political parties in the United States 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 occurred; the former Republican strongholds of Maine and Vermont became solidly Democratic, as did formerly Republican areas of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut.
As of 2020[update], the majority of the overall number of seats held in the state legislatures has been switching between the two parties every few years. In the U.S. state legislative elections of 2010, the Republican party held an outright majority of 3,890 seats (53% of total) compared to the Democratic party's 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. As a result 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.
On December 17, 2020, Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrats, 25% identified as Republican, and 41% as Independent. Additionally, polling showed that 50% are either "Democrats or Democratic leaners" and 39% 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 according to opinion polling 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. It is important to note, however, that Washington D.C. (while not a state) has 3 electoral votes and 76% of residents identify as Democrats, while 6% identify as Republicans. Wyoming was the most Republican state, with 59% of residents identifying as Republican, and only 25% of residents identifying as Democratic.
|Number of U.S. States|
|Year||Solid Dem||Lean Dem||Competitive||Lean GOP||Solid GOP||Net Dem|
Another metric measuring party preference 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 state Democratic or Republican Party controls the governorship, the state legislative houses, and 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 party strength in a state voting population is the affiliation totals from voter registration (from the websites of the Secretaries of State or state Boards of Elections) for the 30 states and the District of Columbia as of 2019[update] that allow registered voters to indicate a party preference when registering to vote. 20 states (mostly in the South, Midwest, and Northwest) do not include party preference with 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 party affiliations in the party control table are obtained from state party registration figures 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 slip to 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 for the 20 states that don't register voters by party come from Gallup's poll.
|Independence Party of New York||388,779|
|Independent Party of Florida||195,333|
|Independent Party of Oregon||134,996|
|Independent Party of Louisiana||110,653|
|Peace & Freedom||110,576|
|Independent American Party||58,331|
|Common Sense Party||17,322|
|New Jersey Conservative||16,104|
|Independent Party of Delaware||9,807|
|Socialist Party USA||9,198|
|Independent American Party of New Mexico||3,889|
|Better for America||3,180|
|Party for Socialism and Liberation||1,369|
|Bread and Roses||1,127|
|Governor||State Senate||State House||Senior
|U.S. House of Representatives||Party registration or identification (% as of 2020[update])|
|Alabama||Republican||Republican||Republican 27–8||Republican 77–28||Republican||Republican||Republican 6–1||Republican|
|Alaska||Republican||Republican||Republican 13–7||Coalition 23–17[b]||Republican||Republican||Vacant||Republican|
|Arizona||Democratic||Republican||Republican 16–14||Republican 31–29||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 5–4||Republican|
|Arkansas||Republican||Republican||Republican 28–7||Republican 77–23||Republican||Republican||Republican 4||Republican|
|California||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 31–9||Democratic 59–19–1||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 42–11||Democratic|
|Colorado||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 20–15||Democratic 41–24||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 4–3||Democratic|
|Connecticut||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 24–12||Democratic 97–54||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 5||Democratic|
|Delaware||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 14–7||Democratic 26–15||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic|
|Florida||Republican||Republican||Republican 24–16||Republican 78–42||Republican||Republican||Republican 16–11||Republican|
|Georgia||Democratic||Republican||Republican 34–22||Republican 103–77||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 8-6||Democratic|
|Hawaii||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 24–1||Democratic 47–4||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2||Democratic|
|Idaho||Republican||Republican||Republican 28–7||Republican 58–12||Republican||Republican||Republican 2||Republican|
|Illinois||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 41–18||Democratic 73–45||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 13–5||Democratic|
|Indiana||Republican||Republican||Republican 39–11||Republican 71–29||Republican||Republican||Republican 7–2||Republican|
|Iowa||Republican||Republican||Republican 32–18||Republican 59–41||Republican||Republican||Republican 3–1||Democratic|
|Kansas||Republican||Democratic||Republican 29–11[d]||Republican 86–39||Republican||Republican||Republican 3–1||Republican|
|Kentucky||Republican||Democratic||Republican 30–8||Republican 75–25||Republican||Republican||Republican 5–1||Democratic|
|Louisiana||Republican||Democratic||Republican 27–12||Republican 68–35–2[d]||Republican||Republican||Republican 5–1||Democratic|
|Maine||Democratic/ Republican (2nd District)||Democratic||Democratic 22–13||Democratic 80–67–4[d]||Republican||Independent[e]||Democratic 2||Democratic|
|Maryland||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 32–15||Democratic 99–42||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 7-1||Democratic|
|Massachusetts||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 37–3||Democratic 129–30–1[d]||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 9||Democratic|
|Michigan||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 22–16||Republican 58–52||Democratic||Democratic||Tied 7–7||Democratic|
|Minnesota||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 34–31–2||Democratic 70–64||Democratic||Democratic||Tied 4–4||Democratic|
|Mississippi||Republican||Republican||Republican 36–16||Republican 75–44–3[d]||Republican||Republican||Republican 3–1||Republican|
|Missouri||Republican||Republican||Republican 24–10||Republican 116–47||Republican||Republican||Republican 6–2||Republican|
|Montana||Republican||Republican||Republican 31–19||Republican 67–33||Democratic||Republican||Republican||Republican|
|Nebraska||Republican/ Democratic (2nd District)||Republican||Unicameral Nonpartisan Legislature[f]
(De facto Republican 32–17)
|Nevada||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 12–9||Democratic 26–16||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 3–1||Democratic|
|New Hampshire||Democratic||Republican||Republican 14–10||Republican 213–187||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2||Democratic|
|New Jersey||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 24–16||Democratic 46–34||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 10-2||Democratic|
|New Mexico||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 26–15-1[g]||Democratic 45–25||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2–1||Democratic|
|New York||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 43–20||Democratic 106–43–1[d]||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 19–8||Democratic|
|North Carolina||Republican||Democratic||Republican 28–22||Republican 69–51||Republican||Republican||Republican 9–5||Democratic|
|North Dakota||Republican||Republican||Republican 40–7||Republican 80–14||Republican||Republican||Republican||Republican|
|Ohio||Republican||Republican||Republican 25–8||Republican 64–35||Democratic||Republican||Republican 12–4||Republican|
|Oklahoma||Republican||Republican||Republican 39–9||Republican 82–19||Republican||Republican||Republican 5||Republican|
|Oregon||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 18–12||Democratic 37–23||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 4–1||Democratic|
|Pennsylvania||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 28–21–1||Republican 112–90||Democratic||Republican||Tied 9–9||Democratic|
|Rhode Island||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 33–5||Democratic 65–10||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 2||Democratic|
|South Carolina||Republican||Republican||Republican 30–16||Republican 81–43||Republican||Republican||Republican 6–1||Republican|
|South Dakota||Republican||Republican||Republican 32–3||Republican 62–8||Republican||Republican||Republican||Republican|
|Tennessee||Republican||Republican||Republican 27–6||Republican 73–26||Republican||Republican||Republican 7–2||Republican|
|Texas||Republican||Republican||Republican 18–13||Republican 83–67||Republican||Republican||Republican 23–13||Republican|
|Utah||Republican||Republican||Republican 23–6||Republican 58–17||Republican||Republican||Republican 4||Republican|
|Vermont||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 21–7–2[d]||Democratic 93–45–7–5[d]||Democratic||Independent[e]||Democratic||Democratic|
|Virginia||Democratic||Republican||Democratic 21–18[d]||Republican 52–48||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 7–4||Democratic|
|Washington||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 28–21||Democratic 57–41||Democratic||Democratic||Democratic 7–3||Democratic|
|West Virginia||Republican||Republican||Republican 23–11||Republican 76–24||Democratic||Republican||Republican 3||Republican|
|Wisconsin||Democratic||Democratic||Republican 21–12||Republican 61–38||Republican||Democratic||Republican 5–3||Even|
|Wyoming||Republican||Republican||Republican 28–2||Republican 51–7–1–1||Republican||Republican||Republican||Republican|
(after 2020 Election)
(after 2020-21 Elections)
|U.S. House of
Representatives (after 2020 Elections)
(after 2021 Elections)
State Senate (after 2020 Elections)
State House (after 2021 Elections)
|Democratic 306–232||Democratic 50–50[e]||Democratic 222-213||Republican 28-22||Republican 32–18||Republican 30–18–1[d]|
Local and regional political circumstances often influence party strength.
|Governor||Governors and Legislatures|
Results of the 2020 Presidential election:
Current standings in the U.S. Senate and in the U.S. House as of the 117th Congress:
Number of state legislatures controlled by each party.
State governorships controlled by each party.
State government full or split control, by party.
In politics, as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, a Democrat or an independent?