According to Cornell political scientist, Peter Enns, all 50 states are as conservative as they have been in the past fifty years. Enns teamed up in a study with Julianna Koch, in order to gauge the direction of the country. It was their conclusion, based on their own work and the work of Vanderbilt professor Larry M. Bartels, that all 50 states are becoming more conservative.
Bartels examined James Stimson’s Measure of Public Support for various government programs from 1950 to 2012. Enns and Koch studied the same type of infor from the 1950s to 2010.
The chart below illustrates his study in all 50 states from the 1960s to the early 2000s. The 60s are represented by hollow dots and the early 2000s by solid dots. In each case the solid dot is to the right of the hollow dot. In fact, most of these movements have been very statistically significant.
In fact, the shifts were so pronounced that the researchers didn’t fully believe their results and therefore tried to assemble the information differently.
The first question, reported in the left panel of the figure below, asked whether the government in Washington should see to it that every person has a job and a good standard of living or whether the government should let each person get ahead on their own. The fact that the solid dots (2002) are to the right of the hollow dots (1964) supports the view that all regions of the country became more conservative.
Interestingly, in 1964, the South appears to have been the most supportive of the liberal response (the government should ensure a job and a good standard of living). The second question, reported in the right panel, asked whether or not the government in Washington was getting too powerful.
It’s important to note that not all states have shifted right on all issues.
“For example, support for same-sex marriage has been increasing across all states. It is also worth noting that our findings on the 1960s and 2000s hides important shifts in policy mood between these periods, such as increased policy liberalism during the 1980s.”
“However, when it comes to support of government programs, the net conservative shift is clear.
It doesn’t seem possible, but on the other hand it does. The last truly conservative candidate to run for president was Ronald Reagan and he carried 49 of the 50 states.