PRINCETON, NJ -- An analysis of Gallup Poll Daily tracking data from the first six months of 2009 finds Massachusetts to be the most Democratic state in the nation, along with the District of Columbia. Utah and Wyoming are the most Republican states, as they were in 2008. Only four states show a sizeable Republican advantage in party identification, the same number as in 2008. That compares to 29 states plus the District of Columbia with sizeable Democratic advantages, also unchanged from last year.
These results are based on interviews with over 160,000 U.S. adults conducted between January and June 2009, including a minimum of 400 interviews for each state (305 in the District of Columbia). Each state's data is weighted to demographic characteristics for that state to ensure it is representative of the state's adult population.
Because the proportion of independents in each state varies considerably (from a low of 25% in Pennsylvania to a high of 50% in Rhode Island and New Hampshire), it is easiest to compare relative party strength using "leaned" party identification. Thus, the Democratic total represents the percentage of state residents who identify as Democratic, or who identify as independent but when asked a follow-up question say they lean to the Democratic Party. Likewise, the Republican total is the percentage of Republican identifiers and Republican-leaning independents in a state.
The accompanying map shows each state's relative party strength (the full data for each state appears at the end of the article) in the first half of 2009, which primarily covers the time since Barack Obama took office as president. States in which one of the parties enjoys a 10 or more percentage point advantage in leaned identification are considered solid supporters of that party. States with between a five- and nine-point advantage are considered leaning toward that party, and states with less than a five-point advantage for one of the parties are considered competitive.