Extremely Different States with Similar Politics

For the most part, states with similar politics tend to also share many other characteristics. Still, there are some unique pairs of states that may have a similar governments and laws, but have little else in common. A list of these states was developed by analyzing the data from the State Similarity Index, that weighs equally five major aspects of American states: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The following three pairs of states were found to have a biggest difference between their politics and their other aspects, including demographics, culture, infrastructure, and geography.


New Mexico and New Jersey are favorable states for the Democratic Party, however they have had a few Republican governors in the past decades. Interestingly enough, in the last two decades, they have voted for the same presidential candidates in the Republican and Democratic primaries. Both states have many laws that protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination. Additionally, they have laws that are favorable to unions. They also have few restrictions on abortion. Furthermore, these states have legalized recreational marijuana. Both have banned corporal punishment in schools and the death penalty.

However, in many ways these states are vastly different from each other. New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the country, while New Mexico is one of the poorest in terms of per capita income. New Mexico has a higher percentage of housing units that are mobile homes. Another difference is that a much greater percentage of people in New Mexico own firearms. In addition, it has a higher rate of suicide and incarceration. Furthermore, the native residents of New Mexico and New Jersey tend to have significantly different accents.

Their geography is also extremely different. New Mexico is a landlocked state in the western portion of the United States, while a high percentage of people in New Jersey live close to the Atlantic Coast. Its climate is significantly drier than New Jersey’s as well. As a result, their plant life differs greatly. Furthermore, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country, in contrast to sparsely populated New Mexico. In addition, New Mexico is significantly more mountainous the New Jersey, since the Rocky Mountains run through part of the state.


New Mexico and Maryland are states that are known to be strongholds of the Democratic Party. In the past few decades, they have had only Democratic senators. These states have rules that are favorable to immigrants. They allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses and receive in-state college tuition benefits. Their elections are similar as well. Both states have closed primaries and do not require IDs to vote. In addition, both states have many laws that protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination. They also have strong labor laws that allow workers to form unions and engage in collective bargaining.

In terms of demographics and culture, Maryland and New Mexico have little in common. People in Maryland have a higher per capita income than New Mexico. It is home to some of the wealthiest counties in the country, including Montgomery and Howard. Furthermore, New Mexico has a much higher percentage of Latinos and Native Americans. At the same time, it has a much lower percentage of African Americans and Asians. Maryland also has a lower percentage of Catholics. Another difference is that Country music is more popular in New Mexico.

Geography is another aspect in which these states have little in common. While New Mexico is landlocked, Maryland has a significant amount of coastline along the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The state receives much more rainfall as well. In addition, most of Maryland’s forests are full of deciduous trees, while New Mexico’s forests have many coniferous trees. Another difference between Maryland and New Mexico is their population density. Due in part to its proximity to major cities like Washington D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland is more densely populated.


Since 1992, both Hawaii and Maryland have consistently voted for Democratic presidential candidates. The vast majority of their representatives in congress are Democrats as well. In addition, their laws are similar as well. Both states have few restrictions on abortion, but many restrictions on guns. Furthermore, smoking in public places is banned in these states. Hawaii and Maryland have also implemented laws to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination, and they have laws that which favor labor unions. Another similarity is that both state allow marriage to first cousins.

However, these states do not have much else in common. Hawaii has the highest percentage of Asian and Pacific Islander residents in the country. A large portion of its population natively speaks either Tagalog or Japanese. Hawaii also has a much lower percentage of African American and Hispanic residents than Maryland. In addition, Maryland was one of the original 13 colonies of the United States. Hawaii, on the other hand, was the 50th state to join the union, when it joined in 1959. While Hawaii’s gun ownership rate is significantly higher than Maryland’s, Hawaii also has a lower rate of homicide than Maryland.

Their infrastructure is quite different as well. Hawaii does not have any freight or passenger railroads, since it is a remote archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. In contrast, Amtrak is frequently used in Maryland. Maryland also has a more dense network of roads too. In addition, Hawaii has far more airplane passangers per capita and port tonnage as it has no road connections to the mainland. While Hawaii is highly reliant on oil to create electricity, Maryland uses a mix of natural gas and nuclear power. Moreover, due to Hawaii’s tropical climate, most of its homes lack heating systems, unlike most other states.


State 1State 2Demo.Cult.Gov.Infa.Geog.TotalPolitics – Total Ave.
New JerseyNew Mexico11.99.516.49.06.453.25.8
MarylandNew Mexico11.310.416.110.47.455.65.0
New MexicoConnecticut12.09.515.59.76.353.04.9

(Minimum 72% Political Similarity)

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