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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ranking States: Ideology, Party, POTUS Approval

In several chapters, our textbook examines differences among the American states.  Demographics, policies and electoral patterns can change substantially as soon as one crosses a state line, say from Nevada to Utah. 

Gallup ranks the states by ideology:
Alabama, North Dakota, and Wyoming were the most conservative states in the union in 2012, with between 49% and 50% of residents in each identifying their ideology as conservative. Residents of the District of Columbia were by far the most likely to identify as liberal (41%), followed by Massachusetts (31%), Oregon, and Vermont (each at 29% liberal). 
The distribution of ideology in 2012 generally reflects the familiar "blue state," "red state" patterns that define the political geography of today's modern America.
There were more blue states than red states in the U.S. in 2012, by a margin of 20 to 12. After the District of Columbia, the most Democratic-leaning states in 2012 were Hawaii, Maryland, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts -- where Democrats held at least 20-percentage-point advantages in party identification. Republicans enjoyed this lopsided an advantage in Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho.
Connecticut, Vermont, Illinois, and Delaware round out the top 10 most Democratic states. Thus, eight of the top 10 are located in the East. approval of President Obama:
Residents of Hawaii, along with those living in the District of Columbia, were most likely to approve of President Barack Obama in 2012, according to an analysis of Gallup Daily tracking for the year. Residents of Utah and Wyoming were least likely to approve, with fewer than three in 10 residents giving Obama a positive review.
The states with the highest and lowest approval ratings are generally similar from year to year, with some shuffling of the rank ordering. This year, only one of the top 10 states (plus D.C.) is different compared with 2011, with Rhode Island moving into the top 10 and Illinois dropping out. Among the bottom 11 states, Kentucky and South Dakota have dropped out, replaced by Alabama and Nebraska.