Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Is West Virginia's Electoral Dissonance Finally Fading?

West Virginia has been voting increasingly less Democratic in Presidential elections in recent elections. In fact, since WV voted for Dukakis in 1988 the share of voters voting for the Democratic Candidate relative to the US has decreased every election cycle.(a monotonic decrease. On the other hand during that time both houses of the West Virginia Legislature became more democratic compared to the all state legislatures as a whole. In the past I have referred to this dichotomy of voting Democratic locally and Republican nationally as electoral dissonance. The Chart below shows this elctoral dissonance. The chart holds constant the Democratic share of US presidential votes as well as the share dems in state legislatures. Thus each years numbers are simply the difference between the share of Democratic votes/seats in West Virginia and the US. For instance in 2012 the Barack Obama got 51.1% of the vote nationally, and 35.5% in West Virginia. Thus the diference in Democratic share for the 2012 was -15.1. The same method was used to calculate West Virginia Democraticness relative to the nation as a whole. So anything below 0 means that WV is more DRepublican than the rest of the country and anything above zero indicates more Democratic. 2014 will help to tell us whether the electoral dissonance is dissolving or if 2012 was just WV's Democratic share of its legislature relative to the US was simply reverting to it mean in 2012. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

WV's consistently moderate legislature

Below is google public data chart of Shor and McCarty's Aggregate Data for Ideological Mapping of American Legislatures, available at The chart has senate ideology on the x-axis and house ideology on the y-axis. Click the play button to view data over time. Higher numbers indicate a more conservative legislature. West Virginia's legislature is constituently moderate in both houses over the time period that the data set covers. It will be interesting to see if this stays this way as the Republicans have made gains in recent years. For information on how they computed these data see: Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty. The Ideological Mapping of American Legislatures American Political Science Review, 2011, 105, 530-551.

 Shor, Boris; McCarty, Nolan, 2013-05, "May 2013 Updated Aggregate Data for Ideological Mapping of American Legislatures", UNF:5:Gxvn/P6NkDXQyga+3BnG+A== V1

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Women on State Courts of General Jurisdiction

I also added the data on women in state legislatures. See: And here is a series of Maps showing the same data:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Timeline of Firsts for West Virginia Women in the Law

The years in parentheses indicate the year that each woman graduated from WVU college of Law. If there is no year in parentheses she did not graduate from the WVU college of law. This video is for a paper I'm writing on female judges in West Virginia. As it stands West Virginia has the lowest percentage of women on courts of general jurisdiction. More to come.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Judicial Selection to State Courts of Last Resort (State Supreme Courts)

This is the first of a series of posts that will accompany an article of mine that will be published in the West Virginia Law Review on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Public Financing Pilot Program entitled “A Horse of a Different Color: Distinguishing the Judiciary from the Political Branches in Campaign Financing." This chart shows how states have selected judges to state courts of last resort since the founding of the US. Time is along the x axis and the number of jurisdictions is along the y axis. This chart breaks down appointment selection systems into lifetime and appointment for term. This video map should be used in connection with the charts above to get a spatial understanding of the history of judicial selection methods. It shows how judges have been selected to state courts of last resort (supreme courts) since 1776. Red = Partisan Elections. Pink = Non-Partisan Elections. Green = Appointment for Term. Yellow = Lifetime Appointment. Blue = Merit Selection.