Geography of Rhode Island - Politics

Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 35.21% 165,391 63.13% 296,571
2004 38.67% 169,046 59.42% 259,760
2000 31.91% 130,555 60.99% 249,508
1996 26.82% 104,683 59.71% 233,050
1992 29.02% 131,601 47.04% 213,299
1988 43.93% 177,761 55.64% 225,123
1984 51.66% 212,080 48.02% 197,106
1980 37.20% 154,793 47.70% 198,342
1976 44.10% 181,249 55.40% 227,636
1972 53.00% 220,383 46.80% 194,645
1968 31.80% 122,359 64.00% 246,518
1964 19.10% 74,615 80.90% 315,463
1960 36.40% 147,502 63.60% 258,032
1956 58.30% 225,819 41.70% 161,790
1952 50.90% 210,935 49.10% 203,293

The capital of Rhode Island is Providence. The state's current governor is Lincoln Chafee (I), and the lieutenant governor is Elizabeth H. Roberts (D). Its United States Senators are Jack Reed (D) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D). Rhode Island's two United States Representatives are David Cicilline (D-1) and Jim Langevin (D-2). See congressional districts map.

Rhode Island is one of a few states that do not have an official Governor's residence. See List of Rhode Island Governors.

The state legislature is the Rhode Island General Assembly, consisting of the 75-member House of Representatives and the 38-member Senate. Both houses of the bicameral body are currently dominated by the Democratic Party.

Because Rhode Island's population barely crosses the threshold for additional votes in both the federal House and Electoral College, it is well represented relative to its population, with the eighth-highest number of electoral votes and second-highest number of House Representatives per resident. Based on its area, Rhode Island even has the highest density of electoral votes.

Federally, Rhode Island is a reliably Democratic state during presidential elections, regularly giving the Democratic nominees one of their best showings. In the 1980 presidential election, Rhode Island was one of only six states to vote against Republican Ronald Reagan. Reagan did carry Rhode Island in his 49-state victory in 1984, but the state was the second-weakest (after neighboring Massachusetts) of the states Reagan won. Rhode Island was the Democrats' leading state in 1988 and 2000, and second-best in 1968, 1996 and 2004. Rhode Island's most one-sided Presidential election result was in 1964; over 80% of Rhode Islanders who voted did so for Lyndon B. Johnson. The last fifteen presidential elections in Rhode Island have resulted in the Democratic Party winning the Ocean State's Electoral College votes eleven times. The state was devoted to Republicans until 1908, but has only strayed from the Democrats 7 times in the 24 elections that have followed. In 2004, Rhode Island gave John Kerry more than a 20-percentage-point margin of victory (the third-highest of any state), with 59.4% of its vote. All but three of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns voted for the Democratic candidate. The only exceptions were East Greenwich, West Greenwich and Scituate. In 2008, Rhode Island gave Barack Obama a 29-percentage-point margin of victory (the third-highest of any state), with 64% of its vote. All of Rhode Island's 39 cities and towns voted for the Democratic candidate, except for Scituate. Also, the 2008 presidential election brought out 83% of the active voters in the state.

Further information: Political party strength in Rhode Island
Voter registration and party enrollment as of March 15, 2011
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Democratic 124,088 10,729 134,817 19.54%
Republican 72,033 7,392 79,425 11.51%
Moderate 5,532 101 5,633 0.82%
Unaffiliated 430,123 39,953 470,076 68.13%
Total 631,776 58,175 689,951 100%

Rhode Island has abolished capital punishment, making it one of 15 states that have done so. Rhode Island abolished the death penalty very early, just after Michigan, the first state to abolish it, and carried out its last execution in the 1840s. Rhode Island was the second to last state to make prostitution illegal. Until November 2009 Rhode Island law made prostitution legal provided it took place indoors. In a 2009 study Rhode Island was listed as the 9th safest state in the country.

In 2011 Rhode Island became the third state in the United States to pass legislation to allow the use of medical marijuana. Additionally the Rhode Island General Assembly passed civil unions and it was signed into law by Governor Lincoln Chafee on July 2, 2011. Rhode Island became the eighth state to fully recognize either same-sex marriage or civil unions.

Rhode Island has some of the highest taxes in the country, particularly its property taxes, ranking seventh in local and state taxes, and sixth in real estate taxes.

Read more about this topic:  Geography Of Rhode Island

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