REVEALED: Secret of why influx of newcomers from blue states HASN’T dented dominance of GOP in deep-red South Carolina and Florida

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Despite a surge in newcomers from blue states recent analysis suggests that  one-third of South Carolina’s new residents had Republican tendencies 
  • Between 2017  and 2021 about 57 percent of the Palmetto State’s new residents are Republican leaning thereby maintaining the state’s conservative stronghold
  • The appeal of lower living cost and taxes sees like-minded individuals drawn to Republican communities and moving to politically favorable Southern homes

Tens of millions of Americans made the move from blue states to red states during the pandemic but it has had virtually no impact on the political landscape whatsoever, analysis reveals. 

Spiraling crime and strict lockdowns in Democratic blue states led to people leaving liberal cities in droves to head towards sunnier climes in the red states of the south, not to mention a lower cost of living and taxes.

In what was one of the largest mass migrations of this century, 46 million people moved in 2021-22 with the red states of Florida, Texas and the Carolinas gaining the most, the Wall Street Journal reports. 

The states that lost the most residents are almost all blue, led by California, New York and Illinois.

And yet, despite so many blue state residents moving to southern red states the political demographics barely shifted.

Dave Zal, left, with his wife, Sandy, and their two children who moved from Schenectady, New York to Greer, South Carolina

Although puzzling at first glance, the reason is simple: the red states were simply attracting GOP voters in the first place. 

Like-minded individuals finding their own kind in southern Republican communities.

Among those who moved south are the Zal family, formerly of Schenectady, New York.

Fed up with pandemic-related restrictions they made the 1,000 mile move to Greer, South Carolina, just outside Greenville, primarily drawn by the state’s Republican lean. 

Sandy Zal, 47, is even planning to vote for former President Donald Trump in Saturday’s Republican primary.

‘We knew that we’d have freedom to make choices for our kids and our family that were taken away in New York,’ she told WSJ.com.

But despite a notable influx of newcomers from traditionally blue states, South Carolina has managed to maintain its predominantly conservative character. 

An analysis of census data by WSJ revealed roughly a third of the state’s new residents between 2017 and 2021 hailed from blue states, while a quarter came from red states. 

Many people have moved from blue states to southern red states drawn by lower taxes, warmer weather and a lower cost of living. Pictured, the Greenville, South Carolina skyline

Many people have moved from blue states to southern red states drawn by lower taxes, warmer weather and a lower cost of living. Pictured, the Greenville, South Carolina skyline

Texas, Florida, Georgia,, North Carolina, Arizona all counted more arrivals than departures

Texas, Florida, Georgia,, North Carolina, Arizona all counted more arrivals than departures 

South Carolina’s recent arrivals have shown a significant tilt towards the Republican party. 

Approximately 57 percent of those who moved to South Carolina during pandemic  identify as Republicans, with Democrats comprising around 36 percent, and independents making up 7 percent. 

Such statistics align closely with the state’s recent voting patterns in which the current Republican Governor Henry McMaster secured 58 percent of the vote.

The migratory patterns in South Carolina go so far as to explain why the political landscape has barely altered.

At one point there was a belief that the wave of newcomers from blue states could introduce more liberal and diverse political ideologies, but many of those leaving blue states were in fact Republicans looking for politically similar environments in their new locales. 

Remote work also allowed many workers to move to red states, but the same phenomenon occurred in states like Florida and Texas, regardless of the draw of lower taxes, warmer weather, cheaper housing and a lower cost of living.

A moving truck outside a home in Queens, in New York City (file photo)

A moving truck outside a home in Queens, in New York City (file photo)

Although South Carolina¿s sales-tax is similar to that of northern states, income-tax rates are usually lower, and property taxes are much less. Pictured, Falls Park and the Reedy River located in downtown Greenville's Historic West End

Although South Carolina’s sales-tax is similar to that of northern states, income-tax rates are usually lower, and property taxes are much less. Pictured, Falls Park and the Reedy River located in downtown Greenville’s Historic West End

The 2020 presidential electoral map, above. Despite so many blue state residents moving to southern red states the political demographics have barely shifted.

The 2020 presidential electoral map, above. Despite so many blue state residents moving to southern red states the political demographics have barely shifted.

Although South Carolina’s sales-tax is similar to that of northern states, income-tax rates are usually lower and property taxes are much less.

The median property tax bill in South Carolina was $1,185 in 2022 and about one fifth of the median in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts.

Ninety percent of homeowners pay at least $3,000 a year in property taxes in New Jersey. In South Carolina, only 12 percent pay that much.

In the Sunshine State, almost half of the people who moved there between 2017 and 2021 came from blue states, with only 29 percent coming from red states.

Among registered voters, 44 percent are Republicans, 25 percent are Democrats, and 28 percent identify as nonpartisan.

The same trend appears to have occurred in Texas that also saw a substantial influx of newcomers from blue states – but a considerable portion of them, estimated by align with the Republican party.

‘People do look for their own cohorts,’ said Paul Westcott from L2, the organization that looks after voting data. 

‘In South Carolina, people see a lower cost of living, lower taxes, and are looking for that cohort that matches their own. Maybe they’re not thinking about it consciously, but they are finding themselves among other conservatives there.’ 

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