It could be worse.
Republican presidential hopefuls could be trying to sell their small government, lower taxes, less regulation and social conservative agendas in, oh say, Hawaii where Democrats have a 24-point advantage over the GOP, according to a new Gallup Poll of the most Democratic and most Republican states.
Instead, as they campaign in Iowa ahead of the Aug. 13 Iowa GOP Straw Poll, they’re in a more welcoming environment – although Democrats also have an advantage over the GOP here.
Gallup found that in Iowa, Democrats hold a 4-point advantage.
The results are based on interviews with more than 170,000 U.S. adults as part of Gallup Daily tracking from January through June, including 1,000 or more adults in 41 states.
Gallup classifies states as being more Democratic or more Republican not on voter registration, but based on the difference between the percentage of state residents who identify as or lean Democratic and the percentage who identify as or lean Republican. It’s worth noting Democrats also hold a voter registration edge — 30.7 percent to 29.1 percent with “no party” accounting for 33.6 percent of Iowa voters.
These figures take into account the partisan leanings of independents. That provides a truer sense of the relative strength of each party in a state, given wide disparities in the percentage of political independents, according to Gallup. These range from lows of 30 percent independent identification in the District of Columbia and 31 percent in Pennsylvania to highs of 60 percent in Rhode Island and 59 percent in Alaska. Many states with high proportions of independents are dominated by one party electorally.
According to Gallup, the political implications are not clear. This year began looking a lot like 2010 with Democrats enjoying a slight edge. However, with the president’s approval ratings slipping to 44 percent nationally in July and to 41 percent this month, the Democratic advantage could shrink or be erased.
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