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Study of 150,000 Lawmaker Votes Exposes Republicans As Less Committed to Conservative Policy than Democrats Are to Liberal Policy

50 State Legislatures Ranked from Most to Least Conservative

ALEXANDRIA, VA (September 7, 2023) — A series of just-released analyses from CPAC Foundation’s Center for Legislative Accountability (CLA) reveals that Democrats are, by voting data, more committed to liberal legislation than Republicans are to conservative legislation. The comprehensive study examined all 7,400 state lawmakers from each of the 50 states, including over 150,000 individual votes across 2,000 different bills introduced in state legislatures.

The members of the Republican caucuses in each of the state legislatures voted with the conservative position an average of 76.71% of the time. The members of the Democratic caucuses in each of the state legislatures voted with the liberal position an average of 87.40% of the time. This means that, on average, Democrat legislators supported liberal legislation 10.69% more of the time than Republican legislators supported conservative legislation, indicating a relative lack of commitment on the latter’s part to the ideology of much of their base. 

“Republicans run on conservative promises, but after they win more of them abandon the tough votes on key conservative policies when compared to Democrats whose first rule is to stick together,” said CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp. “Our analysis shows how moderate Republicans broke apart on key issues like parental choice in education, securing strong voter ID, or putting a stop to COVID mandates.”

CPAC Foundation also found considerable mismatch between the conservatism of many states and their elected officials, presenting further evidence of this phenomenon. For example, five of the ten least conservative states held session in states that vote consistently conservatively. This comes in spite of the fact that the voting populations of these states broke widely for President Trump in the 2020 election and that the Republicans had sizeable majorities over the Democrats in their legislatures. 

The 50 State Legislatures Ranked from Most to Least Conservative

1. West Virginia (72%)

2. Oklahoma (70%)

3. Tennessee (70%)

4. Arkansas** (69%)

5. Ohio (68%)

6. Kentucky (68%)

7. Alabama (67%)

8. North Dakota* (65%)

9. Louisiana (64%)

10. South Dakota (64%)

11. Iowa (64%)

12. Utah (64%)

13. Kansas (62%)

14. Wyoming (62%)

15. Indiana (61%)

16. Nebraska (61%)

17. Florida (60%)

18. Montana* (60%)

19. Idaho (59%)

20. Wisconsin (59%)

21. South Carolina (59%)

22. Missouri (59%)

23. Texas* (59%)

24. Michigan (56%)

25. Georgia (55%)

26. New Hampshire (53%)

27. North Carolina (53%)

28. Pennsylvania (53%)

29. Arizona (49%)

30. Virginia (48%)

31. Mississippi (46%)

32. Minnesota (44%)

33. Alaska (39%)

34. Maine (37%)

35. Colorado (36%)

36. Washington (34%)

37. Nevada* (34%)

38. New Mexico (33%)

39. Delaware (31%)

40. Illinois (24%)

41. New York (24%)

42. Vermont (24%)

43. New Jersey (24%)

44. Oregon (23%)

45. Maryland (22%)

46. California (22%)

47. Connecticut (21%)

48. Rhode Island (14%)

49. Massachusetts (14%)

50. Hawaii (7%) 

*Did not hold a legislative session in 2022. Its 2021 rating is used in its place.

**Only held a fiscal session in 2022. Its 2021 rating is used in its place.

The Center for Legislative Accountability (CLA), an initiative of the CPAC Foundation, is the premier organization for holding lawmakers accountable. The CLA, widely recognized as the "gold standard" for evaluating an elected officials voting record, produces the longest-running conservative congressional scorecard and our state program is the only one in the nation that scores all 8,000 lawmakers in the 50 states across every policy area. 

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