After getting shellacked by Republicans two years ago, Democrats rebounded in the 2012 election, gaining about 150 seats and taking back eight chambers they lost in 2010. Presidential coattails made a difference, as they often do. Since 1900, the party winning the White House has gained seats in legislatures in 21 of 29 elections.
Republicans scored a few wins as well, including gaining majorities in both chambers of the Arkansas Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. With Arkansas in their column, Republicans now control every legislature in the former Democratic “solid South” of a mere 20 years ago. More
Voters made history in dramatic fashion, passing groundbreaking measures to legalize marijuana use and approve same-sex marriage on a day when 174 ballot measures were considered by the electorates of 38 states. That was the most since 2006 when 204 measures were on ballots.
In many states, ballots were quite long on Election Day, with voters in Alabama, California and Florida deciding on 11 statewide measures ranging from implementation of the Affordable Care Act to same-sex marriage.
Of the 42 citizen initiatives on the ballot, voters approved 17. They rejected 23, and two remain too close to call at press time. In the 2000–2010 decade, voters approved 44.9% of all initiatives on the ballot. Of the 40 that are decided so far, 42.5% have been approved. That’s slightly below average and is subject to change as the results on these last two measures firm up. More
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