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Politics & Policy

These three states are more liberal than California, according to one conservative organization

The California State Senate convenes in Sacramento. | Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California is a well-known Democratic bastion. The last time a Republican presidential candidate carried the state was in 1988. Every statewide officeholder is a Democrat. Democrats have supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature, and when the next Congress convenes in January, Democrats will hold either 40 or 41 of the state’s 52 Congressional seats. 

But according to one conservative organization’s analysis of 7,400 state lawmakers nationwide, Sacramento is not the most liberal state legislature in the country.

According to the somewhat counterintuitive way that the Center for Legislative Accountability (CLA) scores state governments, California has the 47th most conservative state legislature in the country, having fallen from 44th place last year. This week, the CLA gave California a conservative rating of 24%, making us only the fourth most liberal state, behind only Rhode Island, Hawai‘i and Massachusetts.

The most conservative state legislature? It’s not Texas, Florida or even Alabama, but Tennessee

The CLA is a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation and the CPAC Foundation. Ratings are calculated across 186 policy areas ranging from cultural and life issues to tax, fiscal and regulatory policies. 

The organization also awards rankings to individual legislators, grouping several dozen of California’s in a “Coalition of the Radical Left,” with conservative scores of 10% or below. Among them were San Francisco lawmakers state Senator Scott Wiener and former Assemblymember David Chiu, both of whom earned a mere 4% rating.

Astrid Kane can be reached at