Welcome to the Friday, January 7, Brew.
By: Douglas Kronaizl
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- Plurality of Americans live in a state with a Republican trifecta
- Deadline to submit Initiatives to the Legislature in Washington passes with no campaigns submitting signatures
- Five third-party candidates received more votes than the margin of victory in the 2021 elections
Plurality of Americans live in a state with a Republican trifecta
At the start of 2022, 34.0% of Americans (113 million) lived in a state with a Democratic trifecta and 41.7% (138 million) lived in a state with a Republican trifecta. The remaining 24.3% of Americans (80 million) lived in a state with a divided government.
Although Virginia is still technically a Democratic trifecta, we included them as a divided government in this analysis. Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) and the Republican majority in the House of Delegates will be sworn in on Jan. 12.
Compared to 2012, a smaller percentage of Americans are living in states with Republican trifectas and divided governments and a larger percentage live in states with Democratic trifectas. A decade ago, roughly half of Americans lived in Republican trifectas, which has decreased by seven percentage points while the percentage in Democratic trifectas increased by eight percentage points when comparing July population estimates from 2011 and 2021.
By the numbers, at the start of 2022, there are 37 trifectas—14 Democratic and 23 Republican—with the remaining 13 states having divided governments. This represents a 95% increase in the number of states with trifectas over the past thirty years. In 1992, there were 19 trifectas—16 Democratic and three Republican.
Deadline for Initiatives to the Legislature in Washington passes with no campaigns submitting signatures
The deadline for Washington citizens to submit signatures for Initiatives to the Legislature (ITL) passed on Dec. 30, 2021. Nine sponsors filed a total of 133 ITLs. None of the campaigns submitted the required 324,516 valid signatures by the deadline. The filed ITLs covered a range of topics including taxes, mandatory vaccinations, gubernatorial emergency powers, and healthcare.
ITLs are a form of indirect initiative unique to Washington. If campaigns submit enough valid signatures for an ITL, it goes before the Washington Legislature at the next regular legislative session. The legislature can then take one of three actions:
- Adopt the initiative as proposed, in which case it becomes law;
- Reject or refuse to act on the initiatives, in which case it must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election for a public vote; or,
- Approve an alternative to the proposed initiative, in which case both the original initiative and the legislature’s alternative must be placed on the ballot at the next state general election for a public vote.
Thirty-four ITLs have proceeded to the ballot for a public vote since 1916, of which 18 were approved. The most recent ITL, Initiative 976, limited motor vehicle taxes and fees. It appeared on the 2019 ballot where it passed but was later overturned by the Washington Supreme Court.
Besides ITLs, Washington citizens may also gather signatures for Initiatives to the People (ITP). These initiatives are direct, meaning, if enough signatures are gathered and verified, election officials place them directly on the next general election ballot for a vote. The deadline to submit signatures for ITPs in 2022 is July 8.
Five third-party candidates received more votes than the margin of victory in the 2021 elections
We covered more than 800 elections around the country on Nov. 2, 2021, and we found five third-party candidates across four elections who received more votes in their elections than the margin of victory between the winning candidate and the runner-up.
In all four elections, Republican candidates defeated Democrats.
The table below shows those five third-party candidates and their respective elections. Two candidates ran in state legislative elections. In both state legislative elections, the runners-up were incumbents. Three candidates ran in local elections, one in a New York City Council race and two in the race for sheriff of Erie County, N.Y.
All were single-member elections, meaning there was only one winner, except for New Jersey’s Assembly District 11 race. In that election, two candidates, both Republicans, won while two Democrats and the Green Party candidate lost.