The Washington Post

How conservative are Alabama and Mississippi?

Exit polling conducted in the Republican presidential primaries in Alabama and Mississippi suggests that voters in the two southern states are among the most conservative that have cast ballots in the race to date.

Forty-two percent of Mississippi voters described themselves as “very conservative” while 36 percent of Alabamians saw themselves in that ideological light.

Only Nevada (49 percent “very conservative”), Iowa (47 percent) and Oklahoma (47 percent) had a more conservative electorate than Mississippi. And, both Nevada and Iowa held caucuses, which tend to be lower turnout affairs more geared to the base of the Republican base.

Here’s a look at the percentage of “very conservative” voters in the major votes to date:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has won only three states — Florida, Nevada and Arizona — where the “very conservative” vote was 33 percent or higher. Two of those — Arizona and Nevada — have very large Mormon populations, which are widely supportive of Romney.

In Gallup’s 2011 survey of party affiliation in all 50 states, Alabama ranked as the 8th most Republican state in the country while Mississippi was the 23rd most Republican.

Chris Cillizza writes “The Fix,” a politics blog for the Washington Post. He also covers the White House.

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