In case Bill Ritter doesn’t already know it: If you’ve got to be a governor, Colorado is a great state to reign over – the eighth best out of all 50 of ’em, to be precise. In a soon-to-be-released report, University of North Carolina political science professor Thad L. Beyle ranks governors according to the amount of power their positions hold. He takes into account appointment and veto powers, control over the budget, tenure and whether or or not their party controls the state’s legislature.
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick tops the power list. The newly elected Democrat scooted past the governors of Alaska, Maryland and New Jersey partly because his party has strong majorities in both chambers of the legislature. Gov. Ritter scored well in that category, too, although the Democrats’ majorities aren’t quite as big here.
Stateline.org has an analysis of the report, which will be published in Beyle’s forthcoming book, Politics in the American States: A Comparative Analysis. And while Ritter might have to settle for eighth place in this ranking, the Stateline article hints that he might have a shot at number one in a different report of Beyle’s:
In another survey, Beyle looks at both the personal as well as institutional powers of governors, although those findings are incomplete since the job performances for governors elected in 2006 are not yet available. The top five in that list are: Colorado, Nebraska, Arkansas, Connecticut and New York.
Beyle stresses that while he can calculate the effects of budget power and other factors, “you can’t really measure personal skills.” Governors with an assertive personality and skills in using the bully pulpit can overcome any limits imposed on them by a state’s constitution and laws, he said.