Colorado: Where Dems Are Liberal And The GOP Is Not

Republicans in Colorado are less likely to be moderate or liberal than in all but five other states, while Democrats in Colorado are more liberal than those in all but three other states, according to a new report based on a massive 2007 survey taken by the Pew Center on the People and the Press.  In no other state in the nation do the two major parties present a more stark ideological divide.Colorado Republicans

Colorado Republicans are notably more conservative than the national average, but, they are typical of Republicans nationally in the importance that conservative white evangelical Christians play in the party.

Nationally, Republican and Republican leaning voters are 26% conservative white evangelical protestants, 35% are others who identify themselves as conservatives, and 37% of Republicans identify as moderate or liberal Republicans.  In Colorado, 28% are evangelicals, 37% of other conservatives, and 32% are moderates or liberals.

Only five states have a smaller share of Republicans who identify as moderates or liberals (Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee).  But, Republican voters in half of the states in the U.S. have a larger share of evangelicals than Colorado, while nineteen have the same percentage or fewer.

Republicans in many states, particularly in the South, are far more tied to the Christian right.  Conservative white evangelical Christians make up a larger share of the Republican party than in Colorado in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana,  Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Viriginia.

In contrast, Republicans who identify as moderate or liberal make up 40% or more of the Republican party in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York.

Colorado Democrats

Colorado Democrats are another story.  They’re very liberal by national standards.

Nationally, 31% of voters who are Democrats or lean Democratic view themselves at liberal, 44% view themselves as moderates, and 21% view themselves as conservative Democrats.

In Colorado, 39% of voters who are Democrats or lean Democratic view themselves as liberal, 46% view themselves at moderates, and just 13% view themselves as conservative Democrats.

The only more liberal Democratic party electorates are found in Oregon, where 44% of Democrats identify as liberal, while only 12% identify as conservative; in Washington, where 44% are liberal, while 13% are conservative; and in Vermont, where 40% are liberal, while 13% are conservative.

Put another way, there is no statistically significant difference between the political leanings of Democrats in Colorado and Democrats in Vermont.

Conservative Democrats outnumber liberal Democrats in much of the South and in several border states, specifically: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.  Liberal Democrats and conservative Democrats are found in equal numbers in South Carolina.  In Indiana and Missouri, liberal Democrats outnumber conservative Democrats, but the difference isn’t statistically significant. 


Delaware, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wyoming didn’t have enough Republican respondents in the survey to be statistically significant.  But, it is unlikely that Republicans in the three states in this list from the Northeast are more conservative than those in Colorado, or that North Dakota Republicans would be significantly different from South Dakota Republicans.  Wyoming, the smallest state by population, had too small a sample size in the survey to provide data about either Republicans or Democrats.

Delaware, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and the Wyoming didn’t have enough Democratic respondents in the survey to be statistically significant.  But, it seems unlikely that these states would have Democrats greatly more liberal than those in Colorado.

More than 22,000 Republicans and more than 24,000 Democrats were surveyed by Pew, including a statistically significant number of respondents from a particular party in each state for which data was provided.

Hat Tip to Luis, at Square State.

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Andrew Oh-Willeke

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