New poll identifies most liberal and conservative states
February 25th, 2011
09:58 AM ET
11 years ago

New poll identifies most liberal and conservative states

Washington (CNN) – Americans are far more likely to self identify as conservatives rather than as a liberals or moderate, according to a new Gallup poll released Friday.

The state with the most conservatives in the U.S. for 2010 was Mississippi, with 50.1 percent claiming conservative political views. Gallup also reported that 50.1 percent is the largest majority ever seen in the three years they have conducted this survey. Other states, including Idaho and Alabama, came in close at a little over 48 percent each.

The most liberal state isn't even a technically state at all. The District of Columbia topped the list with 41.1 percent espousing liberal political beliefs. Vermont was a distant second, with 30.5 percent.

Not surprisingly, Gallup also reported that the more conservative states in the nation were congregated in the south and west, with their liberal counterparts on the east and west coasts.

According to Gallup, "The top 10 rankings make clear that conservative identification is much more common than liberal identification." Each of the top 10 conservative states came in at over 45 percent, however, only the District of Columbia surpassed the 31 percent mark for liberals. And in every state, conservatives outnumbered liberals.

The Gallup survey had a sample size of 182,538 adults. The margins of error for each state differed, between plus or minus 6 percent and plus or minus 3 percent.

Filed under: Poll
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. ConservaFascists

    I'll be sure to stay out of those dark green states. I don't want any of that crazy rubbing off on me.

    February 25, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  2. Seattle Sue

    And Mississippi ranks at the bottom in every other category.

    February 25, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. bobcat1a

    Many people call themselves conservative who would be rejected out of hand by the most conservative. Remember "RINO?" Few really agree on what conservative is exactly. Try asking, "how many think Hannity, Beck, or Limbaugh speaks for you?"

    February 25, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  4. mike

    isn't Gallup conservative I was once polled by them and they ask me one question about the president and then started to ask me some really personnel questions that had nothing to do with anything one question was about my health I played along to see how far they would go and at the end me and my wife were concerned about there polling

    February 25, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Mutt

    Do you notice the states that are conservative are poor, uneducated, lead the nation in things like obesity, school drop out, those on goverment assistance, divorce, got to love those southern rednecks claiming to be conservative and against big goverment while they are running over you to go cash their welfare check.

    February 25, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    Recently, I saw the reults of a study saying that Liberals were far better eduacated and more intelligent then a conservatives. I don't place much stock in these types of studies or surveys, since there is always a questionable methodology in any study. I also remember a quote from George Will some years ago that went as follows:" Most conservatives are functional liberals, in the sense they use government policies to further themselves". In other words, this Gallup survey is as meaningless as any other poll or survey that I've seen. It provides a snapshot, not a long-term view of how things are trending. In the last election, independents broke for the GOP, and they broke for the Democrats in 2008. The Democrats have a conservative wing and a centrist group, the GOP is pretty much lock-step conservative. You combine the conservative wing of the Democrats with a very conservative GOP, along with independents, and you get the results you see here. It does not mean they support the GOP on every issue (look at the polling among independents over the Wisonsin collective bargaining bill): they will move back and forth to one party or another. Right now, Independents don't like union-busting masquerading as a budget bill, the same way they dislike the way healthcare reform was ennacted.

    February 25, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Inmyopinion

    I'm shocked to see Utah and New Hampshire listed conservative. Probably most people don't like to be identified as Liberal because usually it is associated with the Hippie lifestyle which most of the times is a lifestyle that results in being non productive, non involved attitude, tend to be indifferent, do as little as possible, lack concern.

    February 25, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Not that it matters to those who don't reside in Minnesota, but the fact is Minnesota is and has always been a Blue state. One would think that having voted for Wellstone, Franken, Klobuchar, and Jesse (The Bod) Ventura might be an indication of just how liberal Minnesotan's can get, but apparently Bachmann's new found 6th District FOX News fame overshadows that claim. Gotta love how the media gives the mega Church influence so much credibility here. Bachmann's 6th district is embraced by one such church . . . and it's leader point blank insists it's flock support her. Beyond that, no doubt come 2012 all the newly elected Republican Minnesota State legislatives will be given the boot. TeaPers aren't welcome in Minnesota, and the Minnesota Republican Party is in shambles right now, lacking leadership and solutions to the 6 Billion dollar deficit left by that great commonsense TeaPer presidential candidate of 8 years running Tim Pawlenty.

    February 25, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |

    These kinds of polls are very misleading, I myself identify with fiscal conservative while being a liberal on social issues. How they ask the question is very important in the way the answer is given.

    February 25, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  10. Clwyd

    I feel sad for all the states in dark green! come to Wisconsin where we are rated as average and now are bordering on one party rule. (fascism) I hope the state legislature democrats move to Illlinois as it doesn't matter if they are on the job or not. The republcians and our Wacko Walker are leading us to utter chaos and government rule by one!

    February 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  11. Alex Santana

    If you look at the map accompanying the story, all of the poorest states, the ones that are the most unhealthy, have the worst education records and poor schools (Miss, Ala, Ark, GA etc) are the most conservative states? Probably have the highest NRA membership too. And if you were to check the dental records of those "Green states" per the map, probably the average teeth is around 10 or 12, with the rest missing or gold!! Being conservative seems to have done zero for well being, health, education etc. Odd coincidence?? Nah...only proves stupid people are conservative thinking!

    February 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Casual Citizen

    You needed a poll for this result? Duh.

    Most of us know where the knuckleheads are from. Maybe someday their intelligence levels will increase in these states, and religion will not cloud their thinking. It would be a step in the right direction. Look at Wisconsin did to themselves by electing a Repug.......enough said.

    February 25, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Kevin Wilson

    I'm not surprised. As a Canadian I've watched for decades while Conservative politicians and media personalities have demonized the word liberal – "liberal pinheads", "no nothing liberal", "Anti-American libs". -these comments go beyond ideological disagreement – they are an attempt to make it seem wrong and unpatriotic to have any other thought or identity than a conservative one. Unfortunately, we see this trend coming to Canada. Its not surprising in such a climate that people aren't identifying as liberals. Both of our countries deserve better than name-calling in place of thought.

    February 25, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Gerry K.

    It's not that surprising that conservatives outnumber liberals in the US. The disruptive and occasionally violent and illegal mob-rule tactics of the Left generate more opposition than support in the US – unlike Europe and South America.

    Liberals/leftists usually must rely on courts and appointed administrators/regulators (rather than democratically elected bodies) to implement their agenda, liberals usually must disguise their agenda to enact it legislatively, some liberals (e.g., Evan Thomas) even admit that without main stream media support they would rarely win any election, and most Americans realize that socialist experiments have a consistent failure rate worldwide (e.g., USSR, Cuba, E. Germany, etc.).

    So, conservatives must never lose heart, they must continue to act legally and responsibly with the knowledge that they will never gain main stream media support. The MSM tend to consider themselves to be morally and intellectually superior to the general population.

    Gerry K.
    Brigantine, NJ

    February 25, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. greg the progressive in jacksonville

    and this means what? Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also a conservative, great company they have.

    February 25, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. Larry

    Looking at those states, it doesn't surprise me at all that the dumbed down states are also the most conservative. Are any of the top 25 colleges in the country in any of these above average states? I wonder how average educational level of citizens ranks in these right wing states. Oh wait, Mississippi and alabama are in that group. Enough said.

    February 25, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. kyle

    We all know conservative means do it til you get caught!!!!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. REAL Patriots do MORE than salute the flag, they EDUCATE themselves

    Education rankings have a high correlation with "liberal" states vs "conservative" states....just saying.

    February 25, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Pete

    Conservatives who hate the Federal government are the biggest beneficiaries of it.

    Of the top ten conservative states, there is not a single one that doesn't take more from the federal government than they pay in taxes. NOT ONE.

    Out of the top ten liberal states, only Vermont takes more from the federal government than it pays in.

    The District of Columbia takes the most federal money—but they are taxed with NO representation.

    February 25, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. Tom

    I don't consider myself a conservative – I care about freedoms like marriage, birth control, abortion, choice, etc.

    February 25, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  21. Dave Harris

    As Republicans have mindlessly villified the term 'liberal', it's hardly surprising that most people don't want to call themselves that. But most of them still want to get benefits from the government, still vote for Democrats (at least by a slim majority), still believe that abortion and marriage is none of the government's business, still don't hate Mexicans and gays and foreigners in general. So how 'conservative' are they, compared to the wing-nut Republicans who want to tell everybody else what to do? It just shows how meaningless these stupid labels have become.

    February 25, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. Bill

    Interestingly enough, many of the states in the dark green (Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Kansas, etc.) rank at or near the bottom in terms of education. It just goes to show – they may like to pretend they are the 'heartland' of America, but they sure as hell aren't the brains!

    February 25, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. lcasey

    Thank goodness..........I'm an East Coast Liberal.

    February 25, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  24. Jack

    It looks to me like the states with the a higher level of educated seem to be moderate and liberal. What also looks interesting to me is, as the population moves from the two coasts to the west, these states become more moderate. I'd love to see a study of the comparison of education levels and population shifts. As I understand it, the western states are growing with an influx of new residents. This will change the dynamic of these states.

    February 25, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. nellie bly

    Interesting that the most conservative states have the highest obesity rates, the lowest test scores and the most missing teeth.

    February 25, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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