Is there really such thing as a “red state” or a “blue state?”
Take a random person from a so-called “red state,” and the odds are nearly 50/50 that he or she would actually be more liberal on political issues than a random resident of a “blue state.”
More specifically, the chances of any one red state citizen scoring more liberal than a blue state citizen are 46 percent on economic issues and 51 percent on social issues.
The premise of polarization didn’t hold up even when the analysis was limited to states considered to be at the extremes of the conservative-liberal scale. Take Utah and New York, for example. The researchers calculate that 77 percent of voters in those two states occupy common ground when it comes to social policy, and 69 percent shared common ground on economic issues.
“Utah is more conservative than it’s not, but the number of liberals is substantial,” Pope said. “The overall picture is more complicated. There are lots of conservatives in New York. You can find a similar pattern in any pair of states.”