RI Is Most Liberal State
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
“I’m definitely surprised that we beat out Vermont,” said Kate Brock, a native Rhode Islander who works as the lead organizer for Ocean State Action, a coalition of political progressives. “Having lived in Vermont for a chunk of time I would have thought they would have beat out Rhode Island.”
Nationwide, more Americans say they are conservative or very conservative than liberal or very liberal—a contrast of 42 percent to 20 percent. Dick Cheney’s home state of Wyoming and Mississippi both topped the list of the reddest states, with 53 percent of people in each state identifying as conservatives.
In Rhode Island, on the other hand, 32 percent said they were liberal. Only the District of Columbia beat us out, with 42 percent of residents saying they were liberal.
Yet, the conservatives in the Ocean State are not the tiny minority they might seem, given the dominance of the Democratic Party in the state. According to Gallup, 29 percent of residents are conservative. Meanwhile, 36 percent describe themselves as moderates.
Mike Stenhouse, a native Rhode Islander and the founder of RefoundRI.org, a fiscally conservative educational organization, said he continues to be surprised at how liberal the state is given that it also has the highest percentage of Catholics, who tend to be social conservatives.
But he was not surprised by the number of conservatives that showed up in the poll, which he attributed to the increase in civic activism reflected in the rise of the Tea Party movement. “I think we’re entering a new era of citizen vigilance right now and that’s the way our Founders always wanted things to be,” Stenhouse said. “I’m glad we’re getting back to that value.”
He said most people becoming active in the conservative movement are doing so for fiscal reasons, saying that he doesn’t think many people have changed their minds on social issues.
Brock, on the other hand, said she believed most of the conservatives in Rhode Island were focused on the social issues. “That certainly makes a little bit more sense to me,” Brock said. “It seems to me there’s certainly a strong segment of social conservatives in Rhode Island that is certainly vocal on some issues.”
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