Similar States with Extremely Different Politics

There are some unique pairs of states that are similar, except that their politics are quite different. A list of these states was developed by analyzing the data from the State Similarity Index, which weighs equally five major aspects of 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.


Since 1992, Illinois has always voted for the Democratic presidential candidate. In contrast, Indiana has only voted for a Democratic candidate once during that time period. Furthermore, Indiana’s representatives are mostly Republican, in contrast to Illinois’. Another difference is that the laws in Illinois are much friendlier towards immigrants. They allow undocumented people to obtain driver’s licenses and pay in-state college tuition, unlike Indiana. In addition, Illinois has more restrictions on guns and fewer restrictions on abortion.

However, other than their politics, these states are in many ways alike, especially geographically. Illinois and Indiana are mostly corn and soybean farmland. Their terrain is quite flat as well. They both border Lake Michigan and have about the same climate. Although Illinois has the third largest city in the United States, Chicago, the population density of these states is about the same. Due to their central location in the country, many manufacturers have factories in these states. In addition, both states have a high density of railroad lines to transport their goods.

Both states were part of the Union during the Civil War and did not allow slavery. Furthermore, Illinois and Indiana are not far different in terms of religion. They have similar rates of people attending weekly religious services and participating in daily prayer. Both states have two major universities in Big Ten Conference. In addition, basketball tends to be more popular in these states than the rest of the country.


Colorado is much more progressive than Wyoming. In recent years, the state has been known to vote for Democratic presidential candidates. On the other hand, Wyoming tends to lean strongly conservative, often voting for Republican candidates at both the presidential and state levels. Their laws are quite different as well. Colorado was the first state to legalize marijuana, but Wyoming still has not. In addition, smoking in public places is not banned in Wyoming, unlike in Colorado. Furthermore, Wyoming does not have an income tax, in contrast with Colorado.

Despite their political disparities, Colorado and Wyoming share many characteristics in common. Their geographical features are similar. Both states are in the Rocky Mountains. They boast breathtaking landscapes, with towering mountain ranges, vast plains, and picturesque lakes. Both states also exhibit a semi-arid climate, characterized by low humidity and relatively mild winters. These states do not have a lot of forest cover, but their trees are mostly coniferous.

As a result, people in Colorado and Wyoming share a love for the great outdoors. Residents of both states embrace an active lifestyle, engaging in recreational activities like hiking, biking, and fishing. Western heritage and cowboy culture are also prevalent in both states, as exemplified by annual rodeo events and cowboy festivals. Furthermore, both states are renowned for their natural resources. Wyoming is rich in uranium and coal reserves. Similarly, Colorado’s economy is in part fueled by natural resources such as oil, natural gas, and minerals.


Politically, Arizona and New Mexico have some significant differences. Arizona is considered a swing state, often leaning toward a Republican majority but also experiencing shifts toward Democratic support in recent years. New Mexico, on the other hand, has a history of more consistently voting for Democratic party candidates. New Mexico’s government is friendlier to immigrants and unions. It also has more laws that protect the civil rights of its people. In addition, Arizona’s abortion laws are far more restrictive than New Mexico’s.

Geographically, both Arizona and New Mexico offer breathtaking mountainous landscapes. The region is dominated by vast deserts, including the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico. These arid environments are home to unique plant and animal species, creating opportunities for nature exploration and outdoor activities like hiking and rock climbing. Another similarity is that they both border Mexico and are landlocked.

In addition, Arizona and New Mexico have many immigrants from Mexico. The Navajo Nation is in both states as well, so they have many Native Americans. The median age of their people is about the same as well. Furthermore these states have a lower than average percentage of college graduates. They also have similar rates of people attending weekly religious services and participating in daily prayer.


State 1State 2Demo.Cult.Poli.Infra.Geo.TotalPoli. – Total Ave.
ArizonaNew Mexico16.615.411.315.016.074.2-3.5
South DakotaMinnesota16.315.011.014.715.472.4-3.5

(Minimum 72% Overall Similarity)

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