Calif. leads in state electoral competitiveness

Sept. 10, 2012

By John Seiler

California leads the nation in one exemplary category. According to Ballotpedia, the best online resource for information on elections, the state has the most competitive elections:

“The Ballotpedia state legislative competitive index looks at three factors: is the incumbent running for re-election in a district; if so, does he or she draw a primary challenge; and are there two major party candidates in the general election.

“Ballotpedia’s index is created by summing the three percentages and then dividing by three. Each state is given 1 point for each percentage. Then, the points are added up and divided by three to establish the index rating. 1 is least competitive and 100 equals most competitive. …

“California’s filing deadline was on March 9, 2012. It was the 11th state to be analyzed by Ballotpedia staff and the inclusion of its data brought the national index to 36.00 in 2012.

“In California, there are 100 total state legislative seats with elections in 2012 and most current incumbents are seeking re-election.

“Of those 100, 20 are State Senate seats and 80 are State House seats. A total of 56 incumbents (56.0%) are seeking re-election this year. Just 20 (35.7%) incumbents running for re-election face primary opposition. Additionally, there are 44 (44.0%) districts where an incumbent is not seeking re-election within that district. For November’s general elections, there will be 92 (92.0%) seats where more than one major party candidate will appear on the ballot.” 

That was an improvement over the previous election cycle, in 2010:

“In 2010, California ranked 11th in overall competitiveness.

“* 38.0% of Districts were open seats, increasing to 44.0% in 2012.

“* 9.7% of incumbents faced primary opposition, increasing to 35.7% in 2012.

“* 92.0% of Districts had more than one major party candidate in the general election, compared to 92.0% in 2012.

“* California’s 2010 competitiveness index was 46.6, compared to 57.2 in 2012.” 

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