What makes a state a strong one for the Democrat Party? Is it a consistent history of voting Democrat in Federal and local elections? Passing and upholding state level laws that are socially progressive before they are ever forced to be by Federal laws? Most of your state government being comprised Democrats? In the U.S., to some degree individual states have a high level of autonomy from the Federal government in certain areas, and are not uniform in a lot of the legislation they pass. Social liberties, such as same-sex marriage, state funding abortions, and social assistance for health care and housing, are indicators of a given state's social politics. Social liberties have a strong basis within the Democratic Party, and there is a strong correlation between the two. However, not all Democrats feel the same about these issues. In fact a more strongly unifying thread that runs throughout the part could be said to be fiscal liberalism. Therein, both Federal and state governments often tax citizens at a higher rate, in exchange for those same citizens receiving more benefits in terms of social welfare, education, and other state-supported services. Liberals and Democrats also typically support keeping certain entities "in check" by using the government as a watchdog, such as through stricter firearms regulations and monitoring corporations in the private sector that there are suspicions of monopolies or embezzlement or other unfair and improper business practices within them. The states below are the top 11 Democratic Party leaning states. They have all been shaped by different political climates and histories, but currently these states all have a significant majority of Democrat-inclined people within their respective state populaces and governments, and are very progressive socially. We have ranked these based on the percentage of Democrat-leaning percentage voters minus the percentage of Republican-leaning voters, per Gallup Polling.
11. New Jersey (12% advantage)
New Jersey is a Northeastern state along the Atlantic Coast that has a politically liberal history. More than half of the state's population is pro-women's choice regarding abortions and pro-same sex marriage, which are two social issues in the states that can be used as indicators of any given state's sociopolitical climate. Even though a Republican, Chris Christie, is currently the Governor there, the state leans heavily Democratic in Federal elections.
10. Connecticut (12% advantage)
The current governor of Connecticut, Dannel Malloy, has been in office since 2011, and is himself a Democrat. Connecticut is one of the smallest states in the U.S. by area, and is not plagued with a lot of the social problems that exist in other states, which makes it easier for stable politics to exist. Gay marriage has been legal in the state since 2008, making it one of the first states to follow California in making it legal. The demographics of Connecticut make it a more homogenous state then others, and it is also a very highly educated population, a demographic which tends to lean more liberal as well.
9. Illinois (13% advantage)
Cook County, which is the most populous county in Illinois and encompasses Chicago, is a Democratic stronghold. Considered a "purple" (mixed party) state outside of Cook County, the "blue" (Democrat) county is influential and populated enough to keep the rest of the state from going "red" (Republican). In Illinoisans' state Senate, they have long had a sizable democratic majority, which currently stands at 39 Democrat seats and 20 held by Republicans.
8. Delaware (13% advantage)
Delaware, an often forgotten state due to its size, has also long been a "left"-(liberal-)leaning state. The party statistics for Delaware are overwhelmingly Democratic. The governor, Jack Markell, is a Democrat, as is the majority of Delaware's state Senate members. From a Federal election standpoint, however, Delaware has often flip-flopped between both parties, though in the latest election went Democratic. Presently, Democrats control their U.S. Senate seats, as well as their lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
7. Hawaii (15% advantage)
State politics in Hawaii have been greatly affected by racial relations. The Democrats found great success in Hawaii by making racial equality between native Hawaiians and white people there a big part of their platform, and have also been successful in drawing native Hawaiians into the political process to a greater extent. The party was an important key in bringing native Hawaiians into their state's governmental affairs, and leading the way in the political process there. Democrats have had control over Hawaii's seats in government since 1977. Their governor, David Ige, is a Democrat, and since 1959, when Hawaii became a U.S. state, out of the 8 state Governors Hawaii has had, only 2 have been Republican.
6. California (15% advantage)
California is used a poster child for liberalism in the United States, even though the path to certain social liberties have been harder to achieve in California than in places like Hawaii or Massachusetts. At its inception as a state into the Union in 1850, it was a Democratic state. The key cornerstones of California's Democratic Party are liberalism, progressivism, and social progressivism, although California has struggled more than other states when it comes to passing legislation for social liberties such as gay marriage. California's seats in the U.S. House of Representatives include Democrats in 39 seats out of 53, and both of the state's seats in the Senate are under Democratic control. Currently, all 8 of California's statewide constitutional officers are members of the California Democratic Party.
5. Vermont (16% advantage)
Perhaps the biggest indicator of the political ideals that operate within Vermont is the fact that Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders was the Mayor of Burlington for years, and then went on to be elected a U.S. Senator. Sanders is a self-styled "Democratic Socialist", indicative of his relatively far left stances. Under his mayoral rule, Burlington became the first city in the U.S. to have community trust-funded housing. Vermont historically was a staunchly red state. After John F. Kennedy's 1960 Presidential election, however, the Democratic Party surged within Vermont. The Vermont Democratic Party advocates for universal healthcare and equality for all, which are also foundational points for the party in most U.S. states. In their statewide electorate, except for their Lieutenant Governor, everyone is a member of the Democratic Party.
4. New York (17% advantage)
New York, much like California, has been a seeming bastion for liberalism and social progressiveness. They did not, however, legalize gay marriage until 2011, which may come as a surprise considering the culture there, though the state still has strong Democratic roots. The most heavily Democratic county within the United States is located in Bronx, New York. New York's seats in the U.S. senate have been under Democratic control since 1999. Democrats also have the majority of seats for New York in the House of Representatives. The majority of state level officials are also presently Democrats.
3. Rhode Island (19% advantage)
In 2008, Rhode Island was the most Democratic state according to Gallup. It has since become less of a blue state, though still a powerful stronghold for the Democratic Party. Since 1930, Rhode Island has been completely dominated by the Democratic Party. The party has had very strong roots in the state for many decades. Social Security has for a long time been a part of Rhode Island's agendas, and they have extensive social security measures in place, including health insurance for low income children. They had one elected Republican official in 1934, though not again until 1980 before they voted another one in. On the national level, they are still represented by Democrats in their seats in the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
2. Maryland (21% advantage)
The Democratic Party has a strong history in Maryland. The first 6 Democratic National Conventions were hosted and held in Maryland. They have been represented by a majority of Democrats in the Maryland state Senate since 1987. Their other state wide offices are not as uniformly Democratic as some other states listed, such as Hawaii or New York, but their elected officials in their executive offices are still comprised in the majority by Democrats, excepting their current Governor and Lieutenant Governor.
1. Massachussetts (22% advantage)
It comes as no surprise that Massachusetts is at the top of this list. It was the first state in 2004 to legalize gay marriage, and an overwhelming 76% of its population are pro-choice. Its economic and social policies have also long been liberal. It has even earned the nickname "Taxachusetts"! In 2006, then-governor Mitt Romney signed a law that was meant to provide universal healthcare within the state, and this law was one of the models used by Obama in forming Obamacare. The population in Massachusetts has always been liberal-minded, even though many may not like the label of liberal. The state has massive support from its population for the Government to provide social benefits, as well as to work hard to minimize the gap between the rich and the poor. They are represented by Democrats within the state senate. One of the party leaders in the state is surely Elizabeth Warren, who is considered a champion for political and social progressiveness.