Even though there have been more Democrats than Republicans enrolled in New York State in every year since World War II, Republican candidates have won virtually all the statewide elections. In 1971 there were 3,663,201 enrolled Democrats in the state and 2,891,716 Republicans; the Democratic enrollment margin exceeded three-quarters of a million voters. And yet, during the period since the war, the GOP has controlled the governorship and the state assembly for all but four years and has lost dominance of the state senate for only one year, as the result of the overwhelming Republican presidential defeat in 1964. During the last three decades, the state Democratic party has never controlled the executive and legislative branches concurrently, and, furthermore, has not produced a successful home-grown candidate for the United States Senate since Herbert Lehman, who last ran in 1950. The only consistent recent Democratic success for state office has been Arthur Levitt, the comptroller since 1955.
In fact, a recent study demonstrated that, on the basis of a combined measure of party success in governorship and state legislative races, New York was the seventh most Republican state in the nation between 1956 and 1970. Among the "megastates," the ten identified by journalist Neal Peirce as being the most important—politically, socially, and economically—in the United States, New York is the most Republican in its internal politics and among the least competitive, ranking behind only Texas and Florida. 1____________________