Birds of a Feather

We wanted to know if Republican voters living in Blue states like California or Massachusetts are different from Republicans living in Red states like Texas or South Carolina. To answer our question, we merged together the Republican registered voters we interviewed in the 2014 NBC­–WSJ surveys and broke their home states into one of three categories based on recent Presidential voting patterns—states that have voted Democratic in the last six presidential elections, states that have voted Republican in the last six elections, and states that have voted for both a Democrat and a Republican for President at least once in the last six elections.



chart 1

In 2014, we had interviewed 836 Blue state Republicans (9{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of all registered voters), 800 Purple state Republicans (also 9{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of registered voters), and 449 Red state Republicans (5{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of registered voters). What we found is that Republicans are largely the same everywhere. Both attitudinally and demographically, there are few differences to note. Here are some major attitudinal measures in which they are similar:

Chart 2

And here are some demographic measures where differences are minimal:

chart 3

A few minor differences do exist: A greater proportion of Red state Republicans say they support the Tea Party movement, are 18–34 years old, and live in urban or rural areas compared to Purple or Blue state Republicans. Purple state Republicans, meanwhile, say they voted for Governor Romney at a higher rate than Republicans in Red and Blue states, though support for President Obama was low and flat across the state types. And, Red and Purple state Republicans are more likely to identify as Evangelical or Fundamentalist Christians—and Protestants generally—than Blue state Republicans, who are more likely to be Catholic. Some of the items where there are differences are shown below:

chart 4

As we head into the 2016 nominating process, much will be made of the difference between Blue, Red, and Purple states. But, borrowing an old adage, if it looks like a Republican, swims like a Republican, and quacks like a Republican, then it’s probably a Republican. This data powerfully demonstrates whatever type of state you live in, Republicans are generally homogenous, decidedly conservative, and definitely ready to move on from the Obama era.




Polling for NBC and The Wall Street Journal is conducted by Republican pollster Bill McInturff and Democratic pollster Fred Yang. This analysis is our own and does not necessarily reflect the views of NBC, The Wall Street Journal, or Hart Research Associates.

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