By Tyler King
MADISON, Wisconsin: Pennsylvania’s legislative elections in 2012 are less competitive than most of the country, based on Ballotpedia’s Competitiveness index which captures the extent of electoral competitiveness exhibited in state legislative elections.
About the Competitiveness index:
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.
The comprehensive 2012 state legislative competitive index will be released following the completion of the primaries in all 44 states with 2012 state legislative elections. It will examine all 6,016 state legislative seats that are up for election on November 6, 2012.
Once a state releases official primary candidate lists, Ballotpedia staff analyzes the data to determine primary competitiveness. Just one state remains that has passed their filing deadline, but has not been analyzed by Ballotpedia staff – New York.
Pennsylvania in 2012:
Pennsylvania’s filing deadline was on February 16, 2012. It was the 5th state to be analyzed by Ballotpedia staff and the inclusion of its data brought the national index to 30.70 in 2012.
In Pennsylvania, there are 228 total state legislative seats with elections in 2012 and most current incumbents are seeking re-election.
Of those 228, 25 are State Senate seats and 203 are State House seats. A total of 210 incumbents (92.1%) are seeking re-election this year. Just 37 (17.6%) incumbents running for re-election face primary opposition. Additionally, there are 17 (7.5%) districts where an incumbent is not seeking re-election within that district. For November’s general elections, there will be 108 (47.4%) seats where more than one major party candidate will appear on the ballot.
9.2% of Districts were open seats, decreasing to 7.5% in 2012.Comparison to 2010:
In 2010, Pennsylvania ranked 38th in overall competitiveness.
- 14.5% of incumbents faced primary opposition, increasing to 17.6% in 2012.
- 58.8% of Districts had more than one major party candidate in the general election, compared to 47.4% in 2012.
- Pennsylvania’s 2010 competitiveness index was 27.5, compared to 24.2 in 2012.