Gallup: Number of conservative-leaning states drops to 39

The number of conservative-leaning states dropped to 39 in 2017, according to a Gallup survey out Tuesday, five fewer than in 2016.

According to the survey, Rhode Island, California, Oregon, Maryland and Washington joined the ranks of liberal-leaning states last year.

They join Vermont and Massachusetts, both of which have scored net-liberal in the survey since 2013, as well as New York and Connecticut, which have leaned liberal the past two years.

Nationally, the percentage of adults who identified to some degree as conservative sat at 35 percent in 2017, according to the survey, while 26 percent identified as liberal.

In 2016, self-identified conservatives led liberals by 11 percentage points, and in 2008, conservatives led by 15 percentage points.

Another 35 percent of respondents in 2017 identified as moderate, according to the survey.

Since 2008, Georgia, California, Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Delaware have seen at least 10-point decreases in their self-identified conservative residents, according to the survey.

Gallup researchers said the new survey illustrates a changing political landscape in the U.S., where ideological leanings have shifted slightly to the left.

That shift is driven partly by President Trump, who has seen consistently low approval ratings since taking office last year, they added. But shifting demographics, notably younger, more liberal adults taking the place of older conservatives is also driving the change.

According to Gallup, the shift is also driven by a liberalization in how Americans view a host of social issues, including same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana. 

The Gallup survey is based on 180,106 daily tracking interviews, with at least 493 people interviewed in each state. In 40 states, Gallup interviewed 1,000 or more residents. The margin of error for national results is 1 percentage point.