Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Is Texas the most reliably Republican big state? You bet your Georgia peaches

 Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose presidential hopes may be resurgent, speaks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on March 7, 2014. (Drew Angerer/The New York Times)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose presidential hopes may be resurgent, speaks at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on March 7, 2014. (Drew Angerer/The New York Times)

Larry Sabato told the Austin American-Statesman’s chief political writer that Texas is No. 1 among populous states whose voters lean Republican.

Speaking to  Gov. Rick Perry’s possible resurgence as a presidential candidate, Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, told Jonathan Tilove there’s a reason "why so many Texas politicians have had a high profile in the national GOP. Texas is by far the largest state that reliably votes Republican, plus it is a very conservative state that probably reflects the (Republican) base throughout the nation."

It’s no surprise Texas is the largest reliably red state, so much so we decided not to run Sabato’s claim through the Truth-O-Meter.

Still, we were curious how much Texas stands out in this way. So we fetched state population estimates as of July 2013 from the U.S. Census Bureau and gauged the Republican "reliability" of each state based on each of the most populous state’s three latest presidential results, drawing on the 270towin website.

Upshot: Only three of the 15 most populous states voted Republican in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 presidential elections--Texas (second to California in population with nearly 26.5 million residents); Georgia (No. 8 in population, nearly 10 million residents); and Arizona (No. 15 in population, 6.6 million residents).

Voters in eight of the most-populous states leaned Democratic all three years: California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Washington and Massachusetts.

Voters in North Carolina (No. 9 in population, nearly 9.9 million residents) voted for the Republican nominee in 2004 and 2012 but the Democratic choice in 2008. Voters in Florida (No. 3 in population, nearly 20 million residents) and Ohio (No. 7, 11.6 million residents) favored the Republican in 2004 but the Democrat in 2008 and 2012.

We return you now to regular programming. What else?