A recurring theme among far-right culture warriors — from President Donald Trump to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — is that Republican-dominated states represent “the real America” and a commitment to family values while Democrat-dominated states don’t. But a new report/study by the personal finance website WalletHub finds that red states are the most likely to engage in “sinful behavior.”
Although WalletHub’s report wasn’t political in nature, one can draw some political conclusions based on the data. In the survey, WalletHub analyzed all 50 states in the U.S. for “sinful” behaviors that included “anger and hatred, jealousy, excesses and vices, greed, lust, vanity and laziness.” And the ten states most likely to behave in a “sinful” way, according to that criteria, include Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi — all of which went for Trump in the 2016 presidential election and have a strong Christian right presence.
However, the state that made #4 on the list is most definitely not a red state: California. Although California was very Republican-leaning before the 1990s — from Orange County to Bakersfield to San Diego to Glendale and Burbank — it became a blue state during the Bill Clinton years and became even bluer in the 2018 midterms. Orange County, once a hotbed of GOP politics, now leans Democrat. And a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t won California’s electoral votes since George H.W. Bush in 1988.
Some swing states made the study’s top ten as well, including Florida (which went for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Trump in 2016) and Nevada (which Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won in 2016’s presidential election). In fact, Nevada came in at #1 in terms of “sinfulness” — which WalletHub’s Adam McCann attributes, in part, to gambling.
“Red states and blue states may like to point to one another as the source of all that is wrong with the U.S.,” McCann writes, “but the truth is that each of the 50 states has its own virtues and vices. For example, Michigan has the worst drug use problem. And it certainly comes as no surprise that Nevada is the most gambling-addicted.”
Michigan came in at #15.
Meanwhile, Wallet’s list of the ten least “sinful” states in the U.S. includes a variety of blues states (Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Vermont), swing states (Iowa) and red states (Utah, South Dakota, Wyoming, North Dakota). And according to the study, Sun Belt states are more likely to be “sinful” than northern states; most of the states that made the “least sinful” top ten shovel a lot of snow during the winter months.
Vermont, home of Sen. Bernie Sanders, came in at #50 — making it the least “sinful” state in the U.S., according to WalletHub’s criteria.