Monday, April 30, 2012

Idaho's conservative conservatives

Following up with thoughts from the previous post, that the electoral tendencies of moderates are defined in large part by the political atmospheres of the states they live in doesn't necessarily mean the same holds true for their more ideologically committed cohorts. Conservatives are sparse in California, but the state still produces hard-liners like Tom McClintock and Brian Bilbray.

The following table ranks states by the percentages of their liberals who voted for Obama in the 2008 presidential election. The states are colored according to their contemporary political profiles, with purple states representing those in which Obama's total vote share ranged between 46%-54%. Due to insufficient sample size, Utah is excluded:

StateObama %
1. District of Columbia98
2. Delaware95
3. Vermont94
3. Oregon94
5. Colorado93
5. Washington93
7. Illinois92
7. New Mexico92
7. New York92
7. Minnesota92
11. Hawaii91
11. Maryland91
11. California91
11. Florida91
11. Wisconsin91
11. Pennsylvania91
11. New Hampshire91
18. Massachusetts90
18. Connecticut90
18 Virginia90
18. Montana90
22. Rhode Island89
22. Iowa89
24. Michigan88
25. Nevada87
25. New Jersey87
25. Indiana87
25. North Carolina87
29. Maine86
29. Texas 86
29. Missouri86
32. Georgia85
33. Tennessee84
33. South Carolina84
35. Ohio 83
35. Kansas83
37. Idaho82
38. North Dakota81
38. Alaska81
38. Oklahoma81
41. South Dakota80
42. Nebraska78
43. Mississippi77
43. Louisiana77
43. Alabama77
43. Wyoming77
47. Arkansas76
48. Arizona75
49. Kentucky74
50. West Virginia71

The correlation between how a state voted and how its liberals voted is .79 (p = 0)--not quite as robust as for moderates, but still very strong for a measure like this. It's not just that blue states have relatively more liberals and fewer conservatives than red states do--blue state liberals also tend to be more liberal than red state liberals tend to be. Conversely, as the next table shows, red state conservatives are both more conservative and relatively more numerous than blue state conservatives are. Due to insufficient sample size, DC is excluded:

StateObama %
1. Hawaii41
2. Vermont33
3. Illinois29
3. New Mexico29
5. Massachusetts28
6. Connecticut27
7. Delaware25
8. Maryland24
9. California23
9. Rhode Island23
9. Maine23
12. Michigan22
12. Ohio22
12. Mississippi22
15. Florida21
15. Iowa21
15. Nevada21
15. New Jersey21
15. Texas21
15. Georgia21
21. Wisconsin20
22. Pennsylvania19
23. Colorado18
23. New York18
23. Virginia18
23. Louisiana18
27. New Hampshire17
27. Tennessee17
27. South Dakota17
27. Arizona17
31. Washington16
31. Indiana16
31. Missouri16
31. Alabama16
31. Arkansas16
36. Oregon15
36. Minnesota15
36. North Carolina15
36. North Dakota15
36. Kentucky 15
36. West Virginia15
42. South Carolina14
43. Nebraska13
44. Alaska12
45. Kansas11
46. Montana10
47. Oklahoma9
48. Utah9
49. Wyoming8
50. Idaho6

The correlation between how a state voted and how its conservatives voted is .81 (p = 0), almost identical to the liberal correlation and modestly weaker than the moderate one.

Parenthetically, the contemporary liberal/moderate/conservative trichotomy lacks nuance and is necessarily both historically and geographically disconnected. I get that. However, it has become part of the both the vernacular and the media lexicon in the US, and it works pretty well as a general framework for understanding and describing the political landscape of the country in a uncomplicated way. It satisfices.


IHTG said...

"Satisfices"? Oh my.

Audacious Epigone said...

Well, I did spend my college years in the business school. Now I'm showing off what I got out of those four years!

Georgia Resident said...

There are conservatives in Hawaii?

Anonymous said...

There are conservatives in Hawaii?

You betcha!

Of course only 6 % of Hawaiians self identify as conservative. And 40% of them voted for Obama!


Noah172 said...

There are conservatives in Hawaii?

There must be. Obama complained in his memoir about the racism that he allegedly suffered while living there and attending prep school. As we all know, all racists are conservatives, and all conservatives are racists.

(That's sarcasm.)

Audacious Epigone said...


One of the most racially 'integrated', liberal states in one of the most racially integrated, liberal countries in the world isn't close to good enough. Nothing ever is.