Home>Articles>CPAC Study: Record Political Polarization Found in State Lawmaker Votes Across the Nation
A sea of empty desks inside the California State Assembly
California State Assembly. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

CPAC Study: Record Political Polarization Found in State Lawmaker Votes Across the Nation

The proper role and source of government is based on the consent of the governed

By Katy Grimes, December 8, 2022 8:08 am

Last week the Globe reported California’s elected lawmakers’ ranking has lowered the state 3 spots in a new 50 state analysis. The the Center for Legislative Accountability recently released its annual California Lawmaker Scorecard, and as a surprise to no one, California trends very liberal/progressive.

CLA ranking states on conservative policy. (Photo: http://ratings.conservative.org/states?year=2021)

The Center for Legislative Accountability (CLA) just released another report – this one addresses the voting patterns of state lawmakers. They found a record new level of political polarization. The CLA study examined all 7,400 state lawmakers from each of the 50 states, including over 265,000 individual votes across 3,500 different bills introduced in state legislatures:

“The nation’s 3,906 Republican state lawmakers voted conservative 80.89% of the time last year compared to 76.41% in 2020. The 3,223 Democrat lawmakers across the 50 state legislatures voted with the conservative position 15.90% of the time, down from 18.72% in 2020. The 64.99 percentage point divide between the two political parties marks the highest level of political polarization since the CLA became the first and only organization to track such data in 2015.”

California did poorly on the most important issues that impact everyone, regardless of political party:

  • Taxes, Budget and Spending
  • Health Care
  • Welfare and Poverty
  • Education
  • Government Integrity and Transparency

These rankings are important, not only because the issues impact everyone, but also because they give voters the information needed to hold elected lawmakers accountable. What many politicians say during campaign season, and how they vote can be very different – particularly with liberal/progressive politicians.

The proper role and source of government is based on the consent of the governed and on a responsibility to protect natural rights, the Bill of Rights Institute writes. John Locke’s Second Treatise of Civil Government argued when a government no longer had the consent of the people, or did not adhere to its proper role of protecting fundamental liberties, then the people have the right to change or overthrow it.

Knowledge is power.

These are the states ranked from most to least conservative:

50 State Legislatures Ranked Most to Least Conservative

(Percent of lawmaker votes cast for the conservative position)

1. Alabama (74%)

2. Tennessee (73%)

3. Indiana (73%)

4. South Dakota (72%)

5. Arkansas (71%)

6. Florida (71%)

7. Idaho (70%)

8. Wyoming (70%)

9. Iowa (69%)

10. West Virginia (69%)

11. Oklahoma (68%)

12. Ohio (68%)

13. Mississippi (68%)

14. Kentucky (68%)

15. North Carolina (66%)

16. Georgia (65%)

17. North Dakota (65%)

18. Kansas (64%)

19. Utah (64%)

20. Louisiana (61%)

21. Missouri (61%)

22. Nebraska (61%)

23. Wisconsin (59%)

24. Montana (59%)

25. Michigan (58%)


26. Texas (58%)

27. South Carolina (54%)

28. Pennsylvania (54%)

29. Arizona (53%)

30. New Hampshire (51%)

31. Alaska (46%)

32. Virginia (45%)

33. Minnesota (44%)

34. Maine (40%)

35. Washington (39%)

36. Illinois (37%)

37. New Mexico (36%)

38. Delaware (36%)

39. Colorado (35%)

40. Nevada (35%)

41. Oregon (32%)

42. Connecticut (30%)

43. New Jersey (27%)

44. New York (26%)

45. Vermont (26%)

46. Maryland (26%)

47. California (24%)

48. Rhode Island (20%)

49. Hawaii (19%)

50. Massachusetts (15%)

President Lincoln once said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside, CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp said in the report. “If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Schlapp continued: “The Left’s agenda dismantles the vision of our founders when they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.”

You can read the entire report on California here.

The CLA is a project of CPAC Foundation and the American Conservative Union Foundation.

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7 thoughts on “CPAC Study: Record Political Polarization Found in State Lawmaker Votes Across the Nation

  1. It’s pathetic where California is, isn’t it —– especially when one considers the spot of #47 out of 50 likely isn’t even a true reflection of where the people who live in this state stand, but is more likely the result of years and years and years and years of election rigging to put our present “ruling class” in place. That ruling class of politicians doesn’t even serve its constituency because, due to probably being “installed” instead of elected, maybe these politicians don’t even know what their constituencies actually want and need. So maybe we can be forgiven for concluding that the “progressive” politicians’ only apparent purpose is to serve the special interests who donate to keep their own personal lackey legislators in office, by any means necessary, year after year. And that’s why CA ends up 4th from the bottom when it comes to sensible policies and that’s why we are in the mess we are in.

    1. Showandtell, the progressives have alienated and caused the departure of two high-profile Democrats – Tulsi Gabbard and now Kyrsten Sinema. Gabbard campaigned for Republicans Kari Lake (AZ) and Joe Kent (WA) during the midterms (https://justthenews.com/politics-policy/tulsi-gabbard-campaign-gops-kari-lake-arizona). So, is Gabbard a Republican now or an Independent like Sinema? Either way it’s not a good sign for the Democrat Party going into 2024….and as for the Tulsi Gabbard WEF young leaders thing: https://drdrew.com/2022/tulsi-gabbard-on-wef-young-global-leaders-the-truth-about-her-world-economic-forum-ties-ask-dr-drew/. As I have said previously, if Gabbard ran against Newssolini in California, she would “kick his ass”.

    2. Showandtell: Agreed, although I think it’s more like California politicians don’t care what their constituencies actually want and need.

      1. Yes, Fed Up, I hear you for sure and I agree. Guess it was sort of a rhetorical point to emphasize that these people are installed not elected. Maybe a better way to put it would be that they neither know NOR care what those in the district want. Not good, is it! As you know.

  2. Those of us who are native Californians and who have been around for a while have watched in dismay as the once great state of California has been destroyed by years of Democrat control and their failed policies. Surely the majority of Californians cannot be supportive of the mess that Democrats have made of the state?

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