Want to know how liberal our Democratic legislature really is in comparison with Democratic legislators in other states? Or whether our tiny band of Republicans has fought the ideologically pure fight for the past twenty years? Political scientist Seth Masket of MischiefsofFaction and the University of Denver has the answer for you.
Professor Masket uses the Individual State Legislator Shor-McCarthy Ideology Data set built by political scientists Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty to show levels of moderation or extremism in state parties in all fifty states. Masket calls his piece Where the Republicans are Really Red, and the Democrats are Really Blue. So let’s take a look at the maps he included showing partisan levels of extremism, based on the median Democratic or Republican legislators votes over the past two decades. The bluer the state, the more ideologically liberal; the redder the state, the more conservative.
And the red states:
Your eyes are immediately drawn to our beloved Bay State of course and we see that while the Democrats have been among the most liberal legislatures of their party in the country, the Republicans have been far more moderate. Take a look at Professor Masket’s blog post and you will see that the Massachusetts pattern is quite common. States with one party that is pretty extreme will usually see the other party be fairly moderate. The exception is California, where both the Democratic Party is very very blue, and the Republican Party is very very red.