The Most Liberal States: The Worst Places for Conservatives

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Our list of the most conservative states to live and work featured states favorable to people who enjoy greater liberties, lower taxes, educational choice, right-to-work status, and religious freedom. These states were also among the most well-run in the country and enjoyed low unemployment rates and a low cost-of-living. Not surprisingly, the list of the least conservative states are quite the opposite. While we aren't saying conservatives do not or should not live in these states, we do suggest a good sense of humor - and a lot of patience - if you choose to.


Where does one start with California? The state that once elected Ronald Reagan as Governor and voted for him as President has become one of the premier destinations for testing out liberal ideas. From being forced to paint your roof white to city bans on plastic bags, California has the regulation for you. The state's out-of-control bureaucracy and outlandish taxpayer-paid pension packages have sent multiple cities into bankruptcy and the state as a whole in financial ruin. California is effectively a "safe-haven" for illegal aliens and even prohibits the use of e-verify unless mandated by federal law. Residents also enjoy the 4th highest individual tax burden in the country. If that isn't enough, you can always expect plenty of nanny-statist laws to be passed every year.


67% of voters went for Barack Obama in 2012, but gave 71% of their votes to self-described socialist US Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2016 presidential candidate. Vermont has among the highest corporate, individual, and property taxes in the nation. While conservative states typically have right-to-work laws, Vermont went the opposite direction and passed a "fair share" law that forces non-union workers to pay union dues. Ironically, Vermont does get high marks in the gun rights realm. Without a major city center in the state, Vermont does not have to deal with the crime, violence, or gangs that most states deal with. As a result, Vermont is usually highly-rated by gun rights groups.

New York

Researches associated with George Mason University release a ranking of personal and economic freedoms every two years. New York ranked dead last on the list after factoring in all the "freedom" categories including levels of taxation, gun rights, right-to-work status, government debt and spending, business and personal regulations, criminal laws, and "sin" freedoms/regulations on tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. Not surprisingly, the rest of the states on the list joined New York, while the most conservative states landed near the top of the freedom chart.

Rhode Island

With 63% of the vote, President Obama easily won re-election here. Rhode Island was ranked as the 3rd worst state to make a living by MoneyRates and as of June, 2013 the state had the 4th worst unemployment rate at 8.9%. The state opposes expanded school choice options to instead protect public educators. In 2013, gay marriage was legalized. Rhode Island is also big on sin taxes, ranking 2nd in their willing to tax anything they can find an excuse for.


It's always easier to make a state more liberal than it is to make one more conservative. It's easier to pass new laws and regulations than it is to stop them. It's especially difficult to end laws when they either payout generously to certain voting constituencies or provide cash flow for government spending. Maryland is one of the fastest growing liberal states. An article in the Washington Post notes that the "governor and his allies have imposed tax increases, repealed the death penalty and approved a system to provide more than $1 billion in subsidies to a potential offshore wind farm." In addition, the state has legalized gay marriage, pushed for major gun restrictions, and started allowing illegal aliens to collect government benefits. In 2014, Maryland actually elected a Republican as Governor of the state, so perhaps there is some hope.