Saturday, November 8, 2008

Democrat = Financial Trouble

I saw an interesting article showing which states had budget deficits on a map of the U.S. This map looked surprisingly similar to the 2008 presidential election results. I decided to see if there is a correlation between state budget deficits and who controls the state legislatures.

Hypothesis:
States with legislatures having a majority of Democrats are more likely to be in financial trouble. (Note: I am registered as "non-partisan" since I don't like the politics of either major party. I am not intentionally bashing Democrats).

Conclusion: (Updated 11/10/2008)
  • States having a majority of Republicans in both houses were half as likely to have a budget deficit.
    • Arizona and Florida were significantly above the normal for republican states.

  • States with the state legislature lead by Democrats were TWICE as likely to have a budget deficit.
  • States with the two houses of the state legislature split between Democrats and Republicans were 1.75 times as likely to have a budget deficit.

Possible explanation:
  1. The policies of Democrats are the cause.
  2. Voters in financially hurting states elected Democrats hoping their policies could help them out.

The Data:
Chart showing the partisanship of the state's legislature (% democrat) vs. the size of state budget deficit (percent).



  • The symbols represent individual states.

  • The Republican states are on the left in red, Democrats on the right in blue (I know, I got this backwards). States with split legislatures (Upper and Lower Houses have majorities from opposite parties) are in the middle (purple)

  • The higher up, the worse the deficit.

  • There is also a summary table below


DemocratsRepublicansSplit
State Legislature Majority251411
No Deficit894
Deficit1757


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