That conservatives outnumber liberals nationally is not exactly news. But this is: according to a new poll from Gallup, even traditionally liberal states are drifting rightward.
Business Insider explains that "Conservatives now outnumber liberals in deep-blue bastions like Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Oregon."
Mississippi is the first state with more than 50% conservative identification, with Idaho, Alabama, Wyoming, and Utah approaching that level, and Arkansas, South Carolina, North Dakota, Louisiana, and South Dakota (the rest of the top-ten conservative states) 45% or higher. Conservatives outnumber liberals in even the most liberal-leaning states (excluding the District of Columbia): Vermont, (30.7% conservative to 30.5% liberal), Rhode Island (29.9% to 29.3%), and Massachusetts (29.9% to 28.0%).
What explains this trend? Some might point to a conservative backlash against Obama's liberal policies. And while that certainly may be part of it, Richard Florida, an urban theorist writing in The Atlantic, has a different theory. His explanation is economic:
Conservatism, at least at the state level, appears to be growing stronger. Ironically, this trend is most pronounced in America's least well-off, least educated, most blue collar, most economically hard-hit states. Conservatism, more and more, is the ideology of the economically left behind. The current economic crisis only appears to have deepened conservatism's hold on America's states. This trend stands in sharp contrast to the Great Depression, when America embraced FDR and the New Deal.
Interesting food for thought.