Why do Blue States keep voting for Republican governors?

Voters in several states that have long favored Democrats in presidential elections continue to vote for Republican governors.

On Tuesday, GOP governors in Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire were all reelected by comfortable margins.

Some political observers note that GOP governors such as Charlie Baker in Massachusetts and Larry Hogan in Maryland have focused on a message of fiscal discipline to win reelection.

"What do they have in common? They tend to be fiscally responsible but on the social and cultural issues, they just set that aside," Emily Ekins, polling director for the libertarian Cato Institute, said Friday on Hill.TV's "What America's Thinking."

"They're not super-conservative on issues of LGBT rights or immigration. It seems like for Republicans to win in blue states, you can be a fiscal conservative but you have to set aside the social and culture wars," she added.

While several Republican governors on the East Coast have expressed support for abortion and LGBT rights, observers note that their fiscal records have not exactly been characterized by slashing spending or taxes.

"You have to squint pretty damn hard to see the 'fiscally conservative' half of these paladins of purple," columnist Scott Galupo wrote last month in an essay for The Week, which noted that Hogan, Baker and Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) have all raised taxes and boosted spending. Baker even signed a bill increasing Massachusetts'  minimum wage.

Conservative groups and their congressional allies have long accused Republican elected officials of betraying their promises to cut government spending once elected. Still, public opinion polls have shown little support for cutting specific government programs.

In October, an NPR/Marist survey found that 60 percent of Americans wanted to let the Trump tax cuts expire as a means of reducing the federal budget deficit. Just 21 percent wanted to cut spending.

—Matthew Sheffield