Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney holds a town hall meeting at Taylor Winfield in Youngstown, Ohio, Monday, March 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A fine new report from the Public Policy Institute of California updates what we know about the state's political geography.
For decades, the political divide in California was between the Democratic north and the Republican south. But in recent times, analysts have talked about a blue Democratic coast vs. the red Republican inland.
When you dig deeply into the numbers, the state's real political divide puts the two former rivals -- Los Angeles County and the Bay Area -- on one side of the partisan divide, and the rest of the state on the other.
Even more intriguing, PPIC finds that while the state has become more Democratic, California is really only as liberal as its reputations in the Bay Area.
"In the rest of the state, even in Los Angeles County," says the report. "California is more conservative and less consistently defined by geography than conventional wisdom would sometimes suggest."
Indeed, on an ideological scale, public opinion data show the average Californians in the middle and "leaning slighty conservative."
We're right of center!
This could be an opportunity for Republicans. But many moderates and conservaitve support the Democratic party. And altering this could be hard because the Republican party may be too small an ideologically rigid to reach out.
The full report is here.