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MAP MONDAY: 2020’s Most & Least Politically Engaged States

Map Monday Spoiler: Georgia does not rank in the Top 10.

With Election Day coming up and only 61.4% of the voting age population having voted in the 2016 presidential election and 53.4% in the 2018 midterm, every vote will count,

Personal-finance website WalletHub recently released its report on ‘2020’s Most & Least Politically Engaged States.’

In order to determine where Americans are most involved in politics, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 11 key indicators of political engagement including “percentage of registered voters in the 2016 presidential election” to “total political contributions per adult population.”

Source: WalletHub

Among the findings:

  • Maine has the highest share of citizens who actually voted in the 2016 presidential election, 72.68 percent, which is 1.5 times higher than in Hawaii, where the percentage is lowest at 47.27 percent.
  • Maine has the highest share of citizens who actually voted in the 2018 midterm elections, 65.60 percent, which is 1.5 times higher than in Arkansas, where the percentage is lowest at 42.60 percent.
  • There is a 0.6 correlation between the overall ranking of the states for political engagement and the level of education in each state (measured as the percentage of the population with at least a bachelor’s degree).
  • Blue states are more politically engaged, with an average ranking of 18.20, compared with 30.37 for Red states (1 = Best).

Education Ranking

Source: WalletHub

As far as top ranking states go:

1 Maine 76.93
2 Washington 76.32
3 Colorado 71.86
4 Maryland 71.70
5 Wyoming 70.31
6 Utah 68.40
7 Oregon 65.73
8 Montana 65.16
9 Virginia 63.74
10 Massachusetts 63.52

GDP per Capita Ranking


Source: WalletHub

And the bottom 10 states were determined to be:

40 Texas 42.02
41 Indiana 41.20
42 South Carolina 40.80
43 South Dakota 40.42
44 Kentucky 40.02
45 Tennessee 39.25
46 West Virginia 35.12
47 Alabama 33.52
48 New Mexico 32.67
49 Mississippi 31.67
50 Hawaii 29.27

So, where did the Peach State fall?

Georgia ranked 36th in the nation for their level of engagement.

Maneesh Arora, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College says Georgia is making it harder for people to vote and says that will translate to lower turnout in November:

Some states consistently have (relatively) high turnout rates such as Maine, Minnesota, and Oregon and I don’t expect that to change this year. The pandemic will likely influence turnout rates in other states. In states that have an existing infrastructure for vote-by-mail such as Oregon and California, turnout rates won’t be affected that much. Other states like Massachusetts and Michigan which are taking the pandemic seriously and working to develop that infrastructure will also likely not see drops in turnout due to the pandemic. Indeed, voter turnout was at a record high in the MA primary this year. Other states like Georgia which are not only not adapting to the pandemic but also making it more difficult for people to vote, will likely see low turnout rates. 


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