Ranking the States

**Please see menu on the left for the various rankings.**

States are ranked in the following categories:

**Voter Turnout:**The percentage of the voting eligible population which voted in a state's U.S. House elections (as opposed to statewide and presidential elections). We use population estimates by Professor Michael McDonald at George Mason University. His figures estimate the number of voting age adults who are eligible to vote, which means they excludes non-citizens and ex-felons in states that disenfranchise them.

**Representation:**This index measures the percentage of adult voters in a state who voted for the winning candidate in House elections; it is determined by multiplying voter turnout in U.S. House races by the percentage of votes cast for winning candidates.

**Landslide Index:**Percentage of all races won by at least 20%.

**Margin of Victory:**The winner's percentage of all votes cast minus the second-place candidate's percentage.

**Incumbent Re-election Streaks:**Length of time (in years and number of races) for which no incumbent has lost a re-election bid. States in which incumbents have been recently defeated, and therefore have short incumbent re-election streaks, rank higher in this index. Incumbent re-election rankings are not used in determining the overall "Democracy Index" rankings.

**Seats-to-Votes Distortion:**The seats-to votes distortion measures the extent to which one party wins a greater percentage of seats than votes and the other party wins a smaller percentage of seats than votes. You add the percentage distortion for each party and divide by two. For example, if Democrats won 10% more seats than votes and Republicans 6% fewer seats than votes, the distortion would be 8.0%.

**Democracy Index:**A state's average ranking in key categories: average margin of victory (measuring overall competitiveness), landslide index(measuring number of somewhat competitive races), seats-to-votes distortion(measuring how well the intent of voters was reflected by results) and representation index (weighted double, as it measures both voter participation and the percentage of effective votes that elect someone).