Press Release

New Report Ranks America’s Governors on Policy Leadership and Pandemic Response

Alexis Jarrett

New Report Ranks America’s Governors on Policy Leadership and Pandemic Response

Laffer-ALEC report reveals 2020 Governor Rankings

ARLINGTON, VA – (OCTOBER 20, 2020) The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) today released the first ever Governors ranking, the 2020 Laffer-ALEC Report on Economic Freedom. The scorecard ranks America’s 50 governors based on policy performance and result, as well as executive leadership before and after the start of the COVID-19 health crisis.

“State executives implement policy and respond to crisis in dramatically different ways,” said Reagan Economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer. “At such a critical decision point, voters need fact-based, nonpartisan data to judge their leaders and hold them accountable. The objective data voters need is all about economics, and it’s all found in this ranking.”

Each governor is awarded an overall rank, a results rank and a policy rank, which is expanded to list the exact criteria used so readers can clearly identify how their state leader stacks up and why. Governors and taxpayers can also use the criteria to determine state policy areas that need improvement, such as tax and spending policy, handling of federal funds from the CARES Act and economic competitiveness data. The 20 variables used to rank the governors equip readers, voters and taxpayers with an objective analysis so they can make an informed opinion.

This ranking shows that well-managed states and budgets have significantly helped states like Texas, Georgia and South Dakota.

“The Federally supported, state managed and locally executed response to COVID-19 provides a clear look at different styles and approaches to executive leadership,” said Fox Contributor and White House Advisor Stephen Moore. “Government lockdowns and unclear timetables have proven to be harmful to the health and economy of states. It’s no surprise, states where governors mandated strict lockdowns and restricted individual freedom are in far worse shape than states that remained safely open.”

“No state budget is managed like the other, but that’s because of the diversity in our states’ needs,” said Former Budget Director for Michigan, New York, Florida, California, Illinois and Alaska Donna Arduin. “That is why objective and nonpartisan data is critical to compare state leaders’ performances, built and backed up by empirical criteria. Any person should be able to see how their governor has led across the board without bias or agenda, and this scorecard’s methodology was designed to do just that.”

The top ten and bottom ten governors for 2020 are:

        Overall Governors Rankings for 2020

Top Ten Bottom Ten
1.      Greg Abbott, TX 41. Tom Wolf, PA
2.      Brian Kemp, GA 42. John Bel Edwards, LA
3.      Kristi Noem, SD 43. Michelle Lujan Grisham, NM
4.      Pete Ricketts, NE 44. J.B. Pritzker, IL
5.      Gary Herbert, UT 45. David Ige, HI
6.      Ron DeSantis, FL 46. Gretchen Whitmer, MI
7.      Bill Lee, TN 47. Jim Justice, WV
8.      Eric Holcomb, IN 48. Phil Murphy, NJ
9.      Jared Polis, CO 49. Mike Dunleavy, AK
10.   Chris Sununu, NH 50. Gina Raimondo, RI

Find your governor’s ranking here.

“President Trump wisely respected the principle of federalism and empowered elected state leaders to make critical decisions and shape their own health and economic responses to the pandemic,” said ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams. “Unsurprisingly, the 50 governors took very different approaches to policymaking. Some reduced taxes, regulations and enhanced their economic competitiveness, while others took a very different policy strategy. That’s why it is important to use reports like this one to compare and contrast the widely different results.”

The scorecard is authored by Reagan Economist Dr. Arthur B. Laffer, lead researcher Donna Arduin, economic policy expert Stephen Moore and ALEC Chief Economist Jonathan Williams. The authors intend this report to serve as a guide for consumers as they make decisions about their state’s future.


The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest nonpartisan, voluntary membership organization of state legislators in the United States. The Council is governed by state legislators who comprise the Board of Directors and is advised by the Private Enterprise Advisory Council, a group of private, foundation and think tank members. For more information about the American Legislative Exchange Council, please visit:

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