Niraj Chokshi reports for GovBeat, The Post’s state and local policy blog. If you have a candidate for best state, e-mail email@example.com.
You could be forgiven for 2016 campaign fatigue.
The presidential election is more than a year and seven months away, but the starter pistol has already been fired. This past week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) became the first serious contender to announce that he’s running, with several others inching toward doing the same. The race is on.
So, what’s a non-politico to do during election season? Here’s an idea: Escape to Oklahoma, the best state to get away from the political circus.
Oklahomans consistently rank near the bottom on a variety of measures of political obsession — or engagement, depending on your perspective. Only two states saw a smaller share of eligible voters cast ballots in 2012, and just seven states had a smaller share of residents registered to vote, according to census data. People in Oklahoma were 10th most likely to say they never vote in local elections, 11th most likely to say they infrequently discuss politics with family and friends, and 14th most likely to say they don’t express their political or community opinions online, according to data collected by the census in 2013.
It’s a rough assessment, but when those five rankings are combined, Oklahoma scores higher than any other state on political disengagement — ahead of Arkansas, Arizona, Tennessee and Texas.
Part of the reason for the state’s apathy may lie in its political unity. All 77 counties voted for John McCain in 2008 and for Mitt Romney in 2012. The state has the seventh-most-Republican legislature, with 75 percent of state lawmakers claiming a GOP affiliation. (Wyoming is reddest, with Republicans composing 86 percent of the legislature.)
You won’t just be avoiding conversations about the presidential election in Oklahoma, you’ll also be shielded from campaign ads. During the seven months leading up to the 2012 election, the major parties spent just $1,300 on ads in the state, according to FairVote, a nonprofit that promotes fair elections.
What better place to escape from the 2016 hype than the state that boasts the most drivable miles of Route 66, great folk music, beautiful farmland and a legacy of cowboy culture to boot?