Political Beat

State Legislatures are getting more polarized and Olympia is at the front of the pack

The legislative building in Olympia.

The legislative building in Olympia.

While campaigning, legislative candidates like to point out that people are sick of the partisan gridlock that has paralyzed Congress.

If elected, many of them say, they will work across the aisle, unlike the politicians in the other Washington. (I am basing this on conversations with numerous legislative candidates this election cycle.)

It turns out that many who are sent to Olympia forget that campaign promise.

According to study by Georgetown’s Boris Shor and Princeton’s Nolan McCarty state Legislatures are becoming increasingly polarized. And Washington state is ranked fourth in overall polarization, behind California, Colorado and Arizona. 

Polarized doesn’t mean “most ideologically extreme,” but rather “the average ideological distance between the median Democrat and Republican in the state legislature,” according to the Washington Post.


Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or lauren.dake@columbian.com. Follow her on Twitter .