10 States That Almost Always Vote Republican
The political map of the United States is increasingly red, according to a recent analysis of political party affiliation by state conducted by Gallup. Republican-leaning states now outnumber Democrat-leaning ones for the first time since Gallup began its tracking in 2008. People in 20 states now say they’re more likely to vote Republican than Democrat, up from 15 in 2014. In 2008, there were just five solid Republican states.
What’s behind the political shift? Republicans have gradually regained ground they lost to Democrats when President Obama was first elected. In 2003, people in 28 states said they preferred to vote Republican, a Gallup poll found. Though states like Indiana and Tennessee moved to the lean Democratic column in Gallup’s 2008 poll, by 2015, these states were back in the Republican fold.
Republicans may dominate more states than Democrats, but the party is losing ground nationally. In 2003, 45.1% of Americans identified as Republican and 44.7% were Democrats. By 2015, support for both parties had dropped, but the decline was more dramatic for Republicans, with 40% of people saying they identified with the GOP and 43% saying they leaned Democratic.
Though the number of Americans who say they lean Republican is dropping, the party still does extremely well in many parts of the country. A number of states have been solidly Republican for years and are likely to continue that way, at least in the immediate future.
Below are 10 of those states that tend to most often vote Republican in presidential contests. To develop this list, we looked at past presidential election results, Gallup’s most recent analysis of political party affiliation by state, and predictions for the upcoming 2016 election from sources like FiveThirtyEight.
In 2008, Wyoming was one of four states Gallup said was still solidly Republican. Voters haven’t backed a Democrat in a presidential election since 1964, when Lyndon Johnson, who was running against Barry Goldwater, won the state. Chances are, 2016 won’t be the year Wyoming suddenly flips Democratic. Trump has a 98% chance of winning here, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast, which looks at polls, economic data, and historical data to make election predictions.
Wyoming’s three Congressional representatives are all Republicans, as is Governor Matt Mead. Just one-fifth of the state’s voters are Democrats, or fewer than 42,000 people. Since the 1970s, Wyoming voters have only sent Republicans to Washington.
Idaho is the second most-conservative state in the country, according to Gallup. Clinton has less than a 1% chance of winning here, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll-plus analysis. Recent polls show Trump ahead by 15 points or more.
Like a number of other states on this list, Idaho has reliably supported Republican presidential candidates since 1964, when Johnson won in a landslide against Goldwater, who carried just six states. On the federal level, all elected politicians in Idaho are Republicans. The state’s legislature is overwhelmingly Republican, with 14 Democrats serving in the 70-person Idaho House of Representatives and seven in the 35-member state Senate.
Since becoming a state in 1959, Alaska voters have backed a Democrat candidate for president only once, in 1964. In 2016, Trump has a 90% chance of winning the state’s three electoral votes, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast.
Alaska’s two senators and one representative are all Republicans, though Senator Mark Begich, a Democrat, did hold office from 2009 through 2015. The current governor, Bill Walker, is a former Republican who ran as an independent, and his running mate was a Democrat. The state’s changing demographics mean it’s becoming less conservative overall, according to the Alaska Dispatch News, though it’s still an overwhelmingly red state.
Utah is one of the most Republican states in the country. The Beehive State has supported Republicans in every presidential election since 1964 by at least 19 percentage points. The state’s large Mormon population explains Republican dominance in the state, according to The New York Times.
Trump is favored to win Utah by FiveThirtyEight, though his advantage isn’t quite as strong as it is in some other parts of the Mountain West. Most polls have him up 5% to 10% over Clinton, but one poll found the candidates tied, with 13% of voters supporting Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Earlier polls suggested Clinton might even beat Trump in Utah, in part because voters there weren’t fans of his hardline anti-immigration stance, though experts say it’s unlikely the state will vote Democrat in November.
5. North Dakota
North Dakota has voted for Republican presidential candidates in every election since 1964. Trump has an 88% chance of winning here, according to FiveThirtyEight, though no polls have been conducted in the state, which has three electoral votes.
North Dakota is one of the most conservative states in the country, according to Gallup, and has also been one of the most consistently Republican states over the past eight years that the survey has been conducted. Only one Democrat has won statewide election in North Dakota since 2008.
Alabama is the most conservative state in the country, according to Gallup. Though no polls have been conducted in Alabama, Trump has a 99% chance of winning the state in November, according to FiveThirtyEight’s polls-plus forecast.
Alabama voters have backed Republicans in every election since 1976, when Southerner Jimmy Carter won the state. Like many Southern states, Alabama used to be more strongly Democratic until the GOP began to make inroads in the region in the 1960s. Democrats controlled the state’s House of Representatives for 136 years, until Republicans achieved a majority in 2010. Today, Republicans outnumber Democrats in Alabama by 17%, according to Gallup.
Oklahoma is one of the most conservative states in the country, according to Gallup, and the state has consistently supported Republican presidential candidates since the 1950s, with the exception of Lyndon Johnson. Trump enjoys a stronger advantage here than any other in November, according to FiveThirtyEight, which gives him a 99.9% chance of winning in the Sooner State. A poll conducted in early May put the Republican candidate ahead by 20%.
Though the state is reliably red in national elections and Republicans control virtually all statewide offices, many of the state’s voters are actually Democrats. As of 2015, there were only 3,500 more registered Republicans in the state than Democrats.
8. South Dakota
South Dakota has never been a very Democrat-friendly state. Even during the latter half of the FDR years, South Dakotans voted for Republicans, and aside from 1964, the state has gone red in every presidential election since 1940. Republicans have a 16% advantage over Democrats in the state in terms of voter affiliation, according to Gallup.
South Dakota’s entire Congressional delegation is Republican. All major statewide offices are also held by Republicans. Odds are that Trump will win the state’s three electoral votes in the fall, though Clinton’s chances here are a bit better than in some other Republican strongholds. She has a 12% chance of winning the state, according to FiveThirtyEight.
In Kansas, the number of people who lean Republican exceeds those who lean Democrat by 13%. The Plains state has long been a GOP stronghold. In 29 presidential elections since 1900, the Democratic candidate has won in Kansas just five times. Republicans will likely triumph again in November, with most statewide polls putting Trump ahead by 10 points or more.
Kansas hasn’t elected a Democratic Senator since the 1930s. Governor Sam Brownback is a Republican, and the state legislature is also GOP-controlled.
Like its neighbor to the south, Nebraska is a reliably red state. Since 1940, a Democrat presidential candidate has won in Nebraska once, in 1964. Though no polls have yet been conducted in Nebraska, FiveThirtyEight gives Trump a 97% chance on winning the Cornhusker State.
With the exception of Representative Brad Ashford, the state’s entire Congressional delegation is Republican. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 566,991 to 360,487. Though the state has “an independent, populist streak” that has benefited Democrats in the past, according to Omaha World-Herald columnist Michael Kelly, the party has performed poorly in recent elections.