There are more solidly Republican or Republican-leaning states in the U.S. than Democratic or Democratic-leaning states, according to a new Gallup analysis of political party affiliation.
In a report released Wednesday, Gallup reveals that in 2015, 20 states were either solidly Republican or leaned red, while 14 states were in the Democratic column. Another 16 states the polling outfit deemed “competitive.”
Gallup’s new analysis of state-by-state political affiliation represents the first time that red states have outnumbered blue states since 2008 — when Gallup first started compiling the data. Then Democratic states outnumbered Republican states by 30 to the GOP’s five.
Gallup counts states as “solidly” Democratic or Republican when one party has “a greater-than 10-percentage-point advantage over the other in party affiliation among the state’s adult population.” A “leaning” state is one where the party has an advantage of between five and 10 percentage points. In 2015 there were 12 “solid” and eight “leaning” Republican states and 11 “solid” and three “leaning” Democratic states.
From 2014 to 2015, 13 states saw their politics change, according to Gallup. Maine, Pennsylvania, and Michigan shifted from Democratic-leaning to competitive. New Hampshire, West Virginia, Missouri, South Carolina, and Texas moved from competitive to the Republican column. Alaska and Oklahoma went from leaning Republican to solidly Republican. Delaware went from solidly Democrat to leaning Democrat. New Mexico moved from leaning Democrat to solidly Democrat, and Nebraska moved from solidly Republican to Republican-leaning.
The most Republican states, according to the polling firm, were Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah, while the most Democratic states were Vermont, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.
While the GOP has the edge in more states, nationally more Americans identify as Democrats than as Republicans. According to Gallup Daily tracking data in 2015, 43 percent identified as Democratic or Democratic-leaning compared to 40 percent who appeared as Republican or Republican-leaning. Gallup notes that the most populous states — like California and New York — are solidly Democratic.
The results are based on polling from phone interviews with 177,991 adults in the U.S., conducted January 1 – December 31, 2015.