The Daily Caller is ranking the most conservative-friendly counties in America. On Monday, we counted down numbers 81-100. On Tuesday, we looked at numbers 61-80. On Wednesday, we looked at numbers 41-60. Now it’s time for the third installment: numbers 21-40 (click for slideshow).
A quick reminder of our criteria:
- How counties have voted in the past two Presidential Elections
- Median household income, factoring in cost of living
- Home ownership percentage
- Married family percentage
- Civilian veteran percentage
- State unionization laws, whether a right-to-work state or mandatory union state
- State tax burden–state income taxes, factoring in available deductions
- State concealed weapons laws, ease of carrying weapon legally
- State weekly religious attendance, as measured by Pew
- State abortion laws, as measured by Americans United for Life
- Intangibles, such things as a long conservative history, an ingrained military culture, prominent right-wing politicians
A “county” must be a county-level unit, which includes parishes in Louisiana, independent cities in Virginia and boroughs/municipalities in Alaska, and the population must be more than 50,000 as of 2008.
Check back soon for our list of the 100 most liberal-friendly counties in the U.S.
Here are numbers 21-40:
40. Ellis County, Texas
Largest city: Waxahachie
South of Dallas is the emerging Ellis County. It still carries large traces of rural Texas — “Walker, Texas Ranger” sometimes filmed in county seat Waxahachie, reflecting its authentic Texan atmosphere. Suburbs are starting to fill in on the northern edge of the county. The county boasts a high 63 percent married family percentage.
39. Blount County, Ala.
Largest city: Oneonta
Northeast of Birmingham is the hill-and-ridge county of Blount. Blount County is one of the most Republican counties in all of America, giving both Bush and McCain more than 80 percent of the vote. While not wealthy, its standard of living is steadily rising. Blount County is a dry county, which could be viewed as culturally conservative or nanny state paternalism.
38. St. Johns County, Fla.
Largest city: St. Augustine
The first Europeans to set foot on land that would one day become American soil came ashore in St. Augustine in 1565, more than 50 years before the Mayflower landed. The oldest stretch of America feels brand new because its population only beginning to grow. St. Augustine itself has settled into a pleasant tourist town. The area is a golf mecca; St. Augustine is the site of the World Golf Hall of Fame, Ponte Vedra Beach is the site of the famous TPC Sawgrass course (notable for its par 3 “island hole”).
37. Lexington County, S.C.
Largest city: Lexington
Lexington County forms the western, richer half of the Columbia metropolitan area. The city of West Columbia has long been established here, but more typical of the county is the Interstate 20 corridor where most of the population now lives. Lexington County is the richest county in South Carolina and its second most Republican in 2008. South Carolina scores strong on state indicators, strongly culturally conservative and increasingly free-market oriented.
36. Clermont County, Ohio
Largest municipality: Union Township
Cincinnati’s conservative heritage is also well-represented in Clermont County, which borders Cincinnati to the east. It is 2-to-1 Republican, both in well-off suburban townships on the western edge of the county and the small towns and rural areas. The county is represented by Jean Schmidt, who was known as “Mean Jean” for her intemperate comments early in her congressional career.
35. Rankin County, Miss.
Largest city: Pearl
Mississippi is as deep as the Deep South gets. Mississippi is traditionally the poorest state in America and was synonymous with the Democratic Party. The Democratic identity is gone and some parts are emerging from Poverty. Rankin County is across the Pearl River from Jackson and is the major suburban Jackson county. Mississippi takes the honors for most religious state in America, as 60 percent of the population reports attending services every week.
34. Williamson County, Texas
Largest city: Round Rock
Williamson County is north of Austin and has implicitly marketed itself as a conservative alternative to the heavily liberal capital city. Dell Computers is headquartered in the massive suburb/city of Round Rock, which is much unlike the upscale liberal locales in Silicon Valley. Georgetown, the center of the county, is the site of the newest Sun City retirement community, which promises to be a renewable source of conservatism for years to come.
33. St. Clair County, Ala.
Largest city: Pell City
Birmingham could be viewed as a small-scale version of Atlanta. It too is now economically dynamic, with its own set of sprawling suburbs. St. Clair County is extremely conservative, as it is more than 80 percent Republican at the presidential level. It benefits from Alabama’s conservatism and strong demographic indicators such as high home ownership and married family rates. It could have been even higher if not for the lacking income figures, which are only a bit above the national average.
32. Elmore County, Ala.
Largest city: Millbrook
This Alabama county is north of Montgomery and is seeing recent growth in industries such as cars and defense that are more heavily associated with other states. Alabama’s right-to-work laws are part of this realignment of jobs towards the county. This is still a mostly small-town and rural area and there is only a hint of suburbs peaking up from the south.
31. St. Tammany Parish, La.
Largest city: Slidell
Across Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans is St. Tammany Parish. As described earlier, the post-Katrina population trend in the New Orleans area is to move to higher ground north of New Orleans. St. Tammany has more residents after Katrina than it did before the hurricane. St. Tammany is the most conservative of all the New Orleans metropolitan parishes. McCain won a slightly larger percentage of the vote than Bush did in 2004, and added 8,000 more votes to the margin, a significant increase indicative of post-Katrina migrants’ voting power.