Alabama, North Dakota, and Wyoming were the most conservative states in the union in 2012, with between 49% and 50% of residents in each identifying their ideology as conservative. Residents of the District of Columbia were by far the most likely to identify as liberal (41%), followed by Massachusetts (31%), Oregon, and Vermont (each at 29% liberal).
The top 10 conservative states are all red states that vote reliably Republican in national elections, all located in the nation's Southern, Midwestern, and Mountain West regions. These include (in addition to Alabama, North Dakota, and Wyoming) Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Arkansas. There is not, however, a perfect correlation between ideology and party. Three of the 10 most Republican states -- Kansas, Montana, and Alaska -- do not rank among the most conservative states. And Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas rank in the top 10 conservative states but not the 10 most Republican.
The top 10 liberal states -- Delaware, Connecticut, Washington state, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and New York, in addition to D.C., Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont -- are all reliably Democratic voting states. All but Vermont and D.C. are on one of the two coasts, or -- in Hawaii's case -- surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. There is somewhat more accordance between the most liberal and most Democratic states. Only Illinois and Maryland rank among the most Democratic but not the most liberal. Oregon and Washington state rank among the 10 most liberal states but not the 10 most Democratic.