Are Moderate Republican Governors Going Extinct?

In a recent FiveThirtyEight blog post, Nate Silver rated each governor's political ideology and the ideology of voters in the governor's state on a scale from liberal to conservative. He found that Republican governors--unlike their Democratic counterparts--are abandoning the middle, and are often taking conservative stances that outpace the more moderate views of the voters who elected them to office.

Writes Silver: "Unlike for the Democrats, there is almost no ideological diversity within the group: essentially all of the current Republican governors are quite conservative, taking moderate positions on at most one or two issues. Also unlike the Democrats, there is no correlation between the ideology of the governors and the ideology of the states."

This may be a dangerous development for the Republican party, as "Politics 101 would suggest that you need to be at least somewhat responsive to voters in your state." According to Silver, it is also a fairly recent development. He plots the ideological stances of governors in office a year ago--before the 2010 elections--to show that "there were plenty of moderate Republican governors," many of whom have retired since.

 Silver argues that Republican governors' distance from their state's ideology has made them unpopular--and may hurt the G.O.P. in the next election. He writes: "Retribution from the electorate is a strong possibility unless there is a change of course."

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