Tag Archives: state politics and policy quarterly

Formal and Perceived Leadership Power in U.S. State Legislatures

Perhaps formal leadership powers have one set of effects, whereas perceived leadership power has a different set of effects. Those who study Congress have engaged in long arguments about the importance (or lack thereof) of Congressional leaders in influencing outcomes. Among others, see Cox and McCubbins 1993 and 2005, Krehbiel 1993 and 1998, Binder 1996, […]

U.S. State Election Reform and Turnout in Presidential Elections

Permanent no-excuse absentee voting, nonpermanent no-excuse absentee voting, and Election Day registration all have positive correlations with turnout. If you move from one state to the next, you may find dramatic differences in election administration. Back in my home state of California, I registered as a permanent absentee voter. Prior to each election, I received […]

Analyzing the Effect of Anti-Abortion U.S. State Legislation in the Post-Casey Era

When states make it harder to get an abortion, the abortion rate falls. A few months ago, SPPQ published an article by Michael New asking a simple question: Do anti-abortion laws have any effect? It’s a good question. Although the number of abortions performed in the U.S. fell by 22.2% between 1990 and 2005, it’s […]

New Measures of Partisanship, Ideology, and Policy Mood in the American States

Utah comes up as #1 most Republican in partisanship, #9 most conservative in ideology, and #17 most conservative in “mood.” Over the years, political scientists have come up with lots of different ways to measure each state’s relative ideology. We all have a general sense that Utah, Idaho, and Mississippi lie to the right of […]

A Hundred Miles of Dry: Religion and the Persistence of Prohibition in the U.S. States

America’s experiment with Prohibition was a failure. After 13 years of corruption, speakeasies, and an empowered mafia, the United States repealed Prohibition in 1933. With the federal ban on alcohol removed, authority over alcohol shifted to the states. Not a single state chose to continue to experiment. However, many counties did. Today, there remain 262 […]

A Matter of Context: Christian Right Influence in U.S. State Republican Politics

The Christian Right’s political influence from one state to the next has little to do with the size of each state’s Evangelical population. In a new article, Kimberly Conger tries to explain why the Christian Right is more influential in some states than in others. Most commentary about Christian conservatives focuses on the national context, […]

Impartial Judges? Race, Institutional Context, and U.S. State Supreme Courts

We like to think that in our form of government, political officials represent the citizens at large. Trouble is, it’s hard to know what “represent” means. Often, we talk about representation through two major lenses. “Descriptive” representation refers to whether people in government look like Americans generally (in terms of race, gender, maybe even age, […]

Does the Citizen Initiative Weaken Party Government in the U.S. States?

Democratic governments tax the most; Republicans tax the least; divided governments are in the middle. But here’s the rub: these relationships disappear in states with direct democracy. When Progressive reformers first championed adoption of the citizen initiative and other direct democracy institutions, a major reason was to limit the ability of political parties to pursue […]