Many fewer Americans are willing to identify themselves as “conservatives” than in years past – but we still have a significant edge.
Gallup’s latest “State of the States survey shows only residents of Hawaii, Massachusetts and Vermont are more liberal than conservative. The other 47 states tilt conservative to one degree or another.
Of course, the way one identifies themselves can differ markedly from reality, where many of these states are solidly Democratic.
Nationally, only 24 percent of Americans consider themselves ideologically liberal – but that number is up eight points from 20 years ago.
Still, it’s an indication that the political label “liberal” is still considered a dirty word in American politics.
Gallup asked residents of every state two questions: Do you consider yourself liberal or conservative or moderate; and Do you consider yourself “politically” liberal, conservative or moderate.
The states where residents declared themselves conservative both politically and ideologically are Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Utah, Tennessee, Idaho, Oklahoma and South Carolina.
The most liberal states in both categories are Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii, New York, California, Connecticut and Maryland.
This overview of the ideology of states is based on self-descriptions using a general conservative to liberal scale, and thus measures how each American sums up his or her ideological bent. There can be significant divergences in more specific ideological positioning, such as between those who may be conservative or liberal on economic matters, while holding the opposite position on a social matters. Nevertheless, these results roughly conform with the political orientation of states in elections, and the order is similar to Gallup’s state rankings of presidential job approval and political party identification.