Minnesota a liberal bastion? More like middle of the road, survey says

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With Democrats occupying both U.S. Senate seats, the governor's office, and a majority of the Legislature, you might expect Minnesota to rank among the most liberal states.

Not so, according to the latest Gallup poll.

As MinnPost reports, the survey asking respondents to identify themselves as conservative, moderate, or liberal found Minnesota came in as the 20th most liberal state.

In general, Americans are more likely to call themselves conservative rather than liberal. Gallup found only three states where liberals outnumbered conservatives. In Minnesota 36 percent called themselves conservatives, 37 percent say they're moderate, and 23 percent consider themselves liberal.

Gallup's survey found Wyoming to be the most conservative state (51 percent) and Vermont the most liberal (32 percent). Nationally, 38 percent of respondents said they're conservative and 23 percent liberal. But that 15 percent gap is smaller than in previous Gallup surveys.

What about that liberal reputation Minnesota has? A New York Times analysis during the last presidential campaign said it was solidified when Minnesota became the only state to side with Walter Mondale over Ronald Reagan in 1984. But the Times says the reputation belies a deep conservatism among the state's Republicans, pointing to Rep. Michele Bachmann and the strength of the Tea Party faction.

In an opinion piece last year decrying tax increases in the state, the leader of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance also acknowledged Minnesota's liberal reputation but wrote that it doesn't really reflect the reality of the last two decades, noting that Mark Dayton's 2010 victory marked the first time in 20 years that Minnesotans had elected a Democrat governor.

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