Steve Flowers’ Weekly Column - April 4th, 2014
Posted by: wthompson
Date: Apr 04 2014 8:35 AM
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s premier political journalist and commentator. He is also considered by many to be the preeminent authority on Alabama politics and Alabama political history. His April 4th, 2014 column is below:
The Gallup poll has come out with their ranking of the most conservative and most liberal states in America.
Last year we were ranked as the most conservative in the country. We lost that mantle to Wyoming this year. In fact, we fell dramatically to number ten. In past years either Alabama or one of our sister southern Bible Belt states took home the title. This year the Western states made inroads into our group in the top ten rankings.
The most conservative states are always located in the South and West, while the most liberal states are found on the East and West coasts. Thus the label that we like to bestow on Californians is that both they and their philosophy are from the left coast.
Following number one Wyoming in order of conservatism are Mississippi, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and number ten Alabama.
The ten most liberal states are Vermont, Massachusetts, Delaware, New York, Hawaii, Oregon, Maine, California and New Jersey. Not surprisingly, the top ten liberal states all voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and in 2012, while all of the top ten conservative states voted for the Republican nominees in the past two presidential elections.
This same Gallup poll ranked the states on their Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning propensities. As you might expect, the conservative states rank high as Republican havens and the liberal states rank high as Democratic enclaves. There are more Democratic-leaning states than Republican. That probably explains why Barack Obama is President.
Wyoming, which was ranked the most conservative state, also came in as the most Republican state in the nation. We ranked number nine in the country in Republicanism. Our sister southern state of South Carolina likes to boast of being America’s most Republican state. However, they were ranked number ten, just behind us.
The most Republican states in order are Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, Idaho, Kansas, Alaska, South Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina. The most Democratic states are New York, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maryland, Vermont, California, Illinois, Delaware, New Jersey and New Mexico.
Gallup also ranked the states in order of who was the most and least religious. We came in third in the country when it comes to religion. The only two states more religious are the Mormon state of Utah and our sister Bible Belt state of Mississippi. In fact, Mississippi edged out Utah for number one.
The ranking of the most religious states in America are Mississippi, Utah, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Kentucky. The South dominates when it comes to religion. No wonder folks refer to us as the Bible Belt.
The ten least religious states are Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Connecticut and Hawaii. You can safely say the people in the Northeast are not very religious.
What this all tells you is that you do not have to be a profound intellectual political scientist to analyze American politics. If you live in the Midwest or South, you are likely to be a religious, conservative Republican. If you live in the Northeast or on the West Coast you are probably not very religious and you are a liberal Democrat.
In the meantime, our Alabama legislature is determined to prove that they are the most conservative legislative body in America. As this year’s legislative session winds down they are finishing their four-year mission to rid the state of immigrants and abortions and making sure that folks can carry a gun anywhere they want.
These strident and meaningless stream of ultra right wing initiatives are designed to placate Alabama’s conservative electorate. They may be passed with the intent to become Alabama law. However, they are automatically outlawed by the first federal court, usually after a cursory few hours of review.
The anti-immigration measure passed the first year of the quadrennium was laughed out of court right away. This year’s anti-abortion bill is so blatantly unconstitutional that a sixth grade civic student would know that it will never be administered.
This charade is great political year pandering. They also want the rest of the country to know that Wyoming and Mississippi are not more conservative than us. They figure we need to send them a message.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His column appears weekly in more than 70 Alabama newspapers. Steve served 16 years in the state legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter (@SteveFlowersAL)