What states are conservative in the United States? What are conservative politics? The Republican Party is the major conservative party in the United States. Conservative politics aims for a smaller, deregulated government and desires to preserve the political philosophy and regulations articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. There is an aversion to rapid change and a strong belief that traditional morality, such as articulated in the Bible, needs to be preserved. Additionally, conservatives also emphasize the importance of free-market capitalism and free trade.
Conservative politics generally opposes liberal politics, which generally places a greater value on social justice, ensuring access to healthcare, regulating economic activity, and social equality. A few of the most liberal states in the U.S. are Hawaii, Massachusetts, and California. The Democratic Party is considered to be the liberal political party of the United States. U.S. citizens typically identify as either Democratic or Republican, or liberal or conservative.
Conservative states are those states with a predominantly conservative population that consistently elect conservative-leaning legislation. Conservative states often have low taxes, limited gun laws, high religious participation, and limited business regulations. Republican, or "red," states are the most conservative-leaning states. Wyoming is the most Republican state in the U.S.. 67% of residents in Wyoming identify as Republican or Republican-leaning. Wyoming has low taxes across the board, including no state income tax. The state has elected a Republican Party candidate for every presidential election since the 1950s, except for the 1964 election.
The following is a list of the most conservative states in the United States. These findings are based on the Cook Partisan Voting Index (Cook PVI). This index compares the average party share of the Democratic versus Republican two-party presidential votes in a state compared to the national average. For example, if the US as a whole had a 48% Republican vote and a state had a 60% Republican vote, the state would have a PVI score of R+12.
Wyoming is the most conservative state in the U.S. 46% of Wyoming residents identify as Conservative. Wyoming has low taxes across the board, including no state income tax. Wyoming has elected a Republican Party candidate for every presidential election since the 1950s, except for the 1964 election. As of 2023, the state’s PVI score was R+25, with 69.9% of the state voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
With an R+22 PVI score, West Virginia is the second-most conservative state in the U.S. 45% of voters identify as conservative in West Virginia. In comparison, only 17% identify as liberal. In the 2020 election, Donald Trump took 68.6% of the vote, up slightly from the 2016 election.
Oklahoma, which is mostly conservative, has an R+20 PVI score. Oklahoma had only four blue counties in the whole state during the 2018 midterm election. 65.4% of voters voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election, and the state has voted Republican in 15 out of the last 16 elections.
Another state with an R+20 PVI, North Dakota is a Republican stronghold. While 63% of the state voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, this number rose to 65.1% by the 2020 presidential election. This growth shows a possibly larger conservative population in future elections as well.
Idaho also saw a growing percentage of Republican voters between the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. In 2016, 59.3% voted for Donald Trump while he took 63.8% of the vote in 2020. Based on the PVI, Idaho is an R+18 state. This is a state that hasn’t elected a Democratic presidential candidate since 2000, and only 29% of the time since 1900.
Arkansas also has not voted for a Democratic president since 2000, although it did so more than half the time from 1900 to now. This shows that the state has become more conservative over time. Now, it sits as an R+16 PVI score, with 62.4% of the state voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Kentucky also has an R+16 PVI. The state overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections with 62.5% and 62.1% of the vote respectively. Between 1900 and 1960, the state actually leaned Democratic, but it hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1996. Kentucky is clearly a state that is becoming more conservative over time.
Alabama comes in as the eighth-most conservative state in the country, with 46% of voters identifying as conservative. Alabama has a PVI of R+15; 62% of the state voted Republican in the 2020 presidential election. Alabama has voted Republican in the last eleven presidential elections, and 62.1% of voters voted Republican in the 2016 presidential election. Many residents of Alabama are also avid church-goers, which often correlates with conservative values.
With 44% of voters identifying as conservative, South Dakota is the ninth-most conservative state in the United States. In the 2016 presidential election, 61.5% of voters voted Republican, a margin of 29.8% over the 31.7% who voted Democratic. This slightly increased to 61.8% in 2020. South Dakota has not voted for a Democratic president since 1964.
Tennessee is the tenth-most conservative state in the United States. It has a PVI of R+14, with 60.7% voting for the Republican presidential candidate in both the 2016 and 2020 elections. Since 1950, Tennessee has only voted for a Democratic presidential candidate four times.
While there are very conservative states in the U.S., there are many very conservative cities, too. Some of these cities fall within the borders of already conservative states, while other cities are outliers in their home states. Here are the ten most conservative cities in the United States: Mesa, Arizona; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Virginia Beach, VA; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Jacksonville, Florida; Arlington, Texas; Anaheim, California; Omaha, Nebraska; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Aurora, Colorado.
2020 Trump Vote
2016 Trump Vote