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November 6, 2008 7:52 AM

Most liberal, most conservative states

Posted by Bruce Ramsey

It used to be said that the most liberal state was Massachusetts and the most conservative state was Utah. The result of Tuesday's election, visible on this New York Times map, offers new states for the national endpoints: Vermont and Oklahoma.

Vermont is famous for having a socialist senator, Bernie Sanders. I have a friend in Vermont who told me last year that its politics is now noticeably to the left of Massachusetts politics, and the election confirms it: Vermont voted 66.8 percent for Obama, compared to 63.3 percent in Rhode Island and 62 percent in Massachusetts. Only one state beat Vermont: Hawaii, 71.8 percent, and Hawaii was voting for a native son. Hawaii is very liberal, but I'll go with Vermont for the leftiest state. (Why Vermont is so different from its neighbor, New Hampshire, is a question.)

On the other end of the spectrum are two states: Oklahoma, 65.6 percent for McCain, and Wyoming, 65.2 percent for McCain. Both are oil-and-gas states, farming and ranching states, conservative states. And both beat the Mormon homeland, Utah, which went 62.9 percent for McCain.

Before the election it was thought that Washington was more liberal than Oregon, but their vote for Obama was virtually the same--57.8 percent in Washington, 57 percent in Oregon (both figures preliminary, as there are LOTS of votes to be counted.) And if Washington and Oregon are virtual twins, so are Alaska and Idaho, both of them with 61.5 percent majorities for McCain. California was 61.1 percent for Obama, making it an almost-twin of Massachusetts.

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