State Rankings

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

States are ranked in each of the following categories:

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

Average Margin of Victory: The margin of victory index measures the winner’s percentage of all the votes cast minus the second-place candidate’s percentage of votes cast.

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. The distortion is calculated by adding the percentage distortion for each party and then dividing by two. For example, if Democrats won 10% more seats than votes and Republicans won 6% fewer seats than votes, the distortion would be 8%.

Landslide Index: The landslide index measures the percentage of all races won by a margin of victory of at least 20 percent.

Representation Index: The representation index measures the percentage of eligible voters in a state who voted for the winning candidate in US House elections. The index is determined by multiplying the voter turnout in US House races by the percentage of votes cast for winning candidates.

Voter Turnout: The voter turnout index measures the percentage of the voting eligible population who voted in a state’s US 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 exclude non-citizens and ex-felons in states that disenfranchise them.