August 17, 2009

TRICKY GROUND TO RIDE A UNICORN OVER:

Political Ideology: "Conservative" Label Prevails in the South: Conservatives outnumber liberals in nearly every state, but not in D.C. (Lydia Saad, 8/14/09, Gallup)

The overall percentages of self-declared conservatives in each state range from a high of 49% in Alabama to a low of 23% in the nation's capital. The "liberal" label is embraced most widely in D.C., by 37%, followed by 29% in Massachusetts. At 14%, it is used least commonly in Louisiana. (See table at end of this report for complete state-by-state percentages.)

Because the percentage of moderates varies by state -- from 43% in Hawaii and Rhode Island down to 32% in Alabama -- the percentage identifying themselves as "conservative" does not by itself provide a complete picture of the relative strength of conservatism across states. For this reason, the "net conservative" statistic -- defined as the total percentage calling themselves conservative minus the total percentage defining themselves as liberal -- is used in the accompanying map to identify the ideological makeup of each state.

States where the conservatives' advantage over liberals is greater than 25 percentage points are defined as Most Conservative. Net conservatism registering 20 to 25 points is defined as More Conservative; from 10 to 19 points, as Somewhat Conservative; and from 1 to 9 points, as Less Conservative. Only Washington, D.C., which has more liberals than conservatives, is defined as Liberal. [...]

Despite the Democratic Party's political strength -- seen in its majority representation in Congress and in state houses across the country -- more Americans consider themselves conservative than liberal. While Gallup polling has found this to be true at the national level over many years, and spanning recent Republican as well as Democratic presidential administrations, the present analysis confirms that the pattern also largely holds at the state level. Conservatives outnumber liberals by statistically significant margins in 47 of the 50 states, with the two groups statistically tied in Hawaii, Vermont, and Massachusetts.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 17, 2009 2:47 PM
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