This is a big reason why my wife and I can't think of any other state we'd rather live in: "Oregon one of country's most liberal and least religious states: Gallup poll"
From Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian:
Oregon once again has a notable spot on two new charts from Gallup, the venerable polling organization. The pollster found that Oregonians continue to identify themselves as one of the most politically liberal states in the country -- and one of the least religious.
It's not surprising that Oregon would be at the top of one list and at the bottom of the other. Numerous studies have found a strong link between religious and political beliefs.
Oregon is listed as tied with Hawaii for being the sixth most liberal state (fifth, if you don't count Washington, D.C., which is probably best compared with other urban areas instead of states).
As it happens, more Oregonians identify themselves as conservative than liberal -- 33.6 percent versus 27.9 percent -- but it's one of the smaller gaps in the country.
And many voters who typically side with the Democrats have rejected characterizing themselves as liberals (that's why most Democratic politicians prefer to call themselves progressives).
Gallup notes that Democrats continue to dominate in states like Oregon because so many voters who identify themselves as moderates tend to side with them. In Idaho, the third most conservative state after Wyoming and Mississippi, 47.5 percent identify themselves as conservatives -- giving Republicans there a solid base they use to dominate elections in the state.
There is one big glimmer of hope for Oregon Republicans in the Gallup state-by-state polling. The firm found that President Barack Obama's job approval rating in Oregon is far from being in the top 10 -- in fact, at 45.4 percent, it's slightly below the national average of 46.5 percent. That suggests Republicans might gain some traction here in continuing to focus their attacks on the new federal health care law, which is so identified with Obama.
One big caveat about Gallup's polling. It's based on interviews with adults, not registered voters. My guess is that registered voters would be more likely to suggest that they are conservative or liberal.
Oregon is identified as the fifth least religious state, based on the percentage of adults who describe themselves as very religious. All told, 31 percent of Oregonians describe themselves as very religious, 26 percent as moderately religious and 43 percent as non-religious.
Oregon has the fifth-highest percentage of adults who put themselves in the non-religious category. The state's secular culture has been long-standing, with many saying that as people moved west, they became less-attached to religious traditions. Nevada and Washington are also on the list of states with the highest percentages of non-religious adults and California is just a notch below.