Monday, March 26, 2007

The Most Ideologically Representative States --
Cross-posted to MyDD:

I am delving into the recent huge Pew survey. This is the first thing that caught my eye.

On page 10-11, there are charts profiling Democrats/Democratic leaners and Republican/Republican leaners by state, grouped by primary date. Nationally, Democrats and Democratic leaners are divided into liberals (31%), moderates (44%), and conservatives (21%), while Republicans and Republicans leaners are divided into conservative white evangelical Protestants (26%), other conservatives (35%), and moderates/liberals (37%).

One simple measure of deviance from the national ideological breakdown is to sum up the differences between state figures and the national figures in each category. For example, South Carolina is +9 in conservative white evangelical Republicans, -6 in other conservative Republicans, -8 in moderate/liberal Republicans, , -6 in liberal Democrats, even in moderate Democrats, and +4 in conservative Democrats for a total of 33 with a Republican deviation of 23 and a Democratic deviation of 10. Some results after the flip.

Two important caveats. One, I did all my number-crunching by hand using pencil and paper because it would take less time than spreadsheet entry, and I did all arithmetic in my head without a calculator because that's how I roll. Second, Democrats in Delaware, DC, Idaho, Montana, both Dakotas, and Wyoming and Republicans in Delaware, DC, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming lacked sufficient cases for Pew to list numbers. Also, the numbers are based on interviews between January 2005 and March 2007.

First, the least and most deviant Democratic states. Maryland is the least deviant with a score of 2. Second, with 3 is a tie. Florida and Illinois are unsurprising. However, the other is Iowa, which some people bash as an unrepresentative state. Based on ideology, the Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters there are actually quite representative of national Democrats. Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Connecticut, and Wisconsin all have a score of 5, Virginia rounds out the top ten with a 6.

Unsurprisingly, the most deviant Democratic states include those with large numbers of conservative Democrats. At 36, Louisiana is the most deviant Democratic state, with 39% of Democrats and Democratic leaners claiming to be conservative. Next, tying at 25 are the state with the second-highest percentage of conservative Democrats, Mississippi, and the state tied for the most liberal Democrats, Washington. Newt, at 24 are the other uber-liberal state, Oregon, and another conservative state, Oklaoma.

The least deviant Republican states are Michigan (2), Ohio (3), Montana (3), Minnesota (5), and Oregon (5), while the most-deviant Republcan states are Utah with its 1% conservative white evangelical Protestant Republicans(57), Mississippi(57), New Jersey (45), Tennessee (42), Arkansas (38), and Alabana (38).

If you combine Republican and Democratic scores, the states that are most representative of national ideological breakdowns are Montana (6), Ohio (8), Illinois (10), Florida (11), and Michigan (11), Iowa (12), Pennsylvania (12). Unsurprisingly, this list contains a lot of potential swing states. Among early primary states, South Carolina is tied for 29th with a score of 37, while New Hampshire is 31st with a score of 41. South Carolina is more conservative than normal, while New Hampshire is actually more liberal than average on the Democratic side and skews heavily against evangelicals on the Republican side, so its early status may help diminish the chances of evangelical Republicans gaining a foothold.

I think the most interesting result overall here is that people who bash Iowa for being unrepresentative are probably overstating their case. In picking early primary states, it's has a smaller population than possibilities like Ohio and Illinois so may be better suited to grassroots campaigns, while it has a better travel infrastructure than Montana.

Further number crunching could involve comparing the numbers to weighted averages of likely Democratic and Republican states in the 2008 presidential election.
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