California has always had the label of being the Granola State, what's not a fruit or a nut is a flake. That label doesn't really seem appropriate as some of the most staunch conservative Republican strongholds in the country are in California. People get the impression that California is a liberal state because of San Francisco and Hollywood.
The South has always been seen as a very Conservative region, even though many of the states were controlled by the Democratic Party (Of course the DP
of 50+ years ago is nothing like the DP
of today). With the Democratic Party moving more towards the left again, many Democrats are being enticed into joining the Republican Party. Georgia is a great example of this. Our current Governor, Sonny Purdue, is a former Democrat who switched parties a few years before running for Governor. The main reason why he switched is because he knew he couldn't make the lineup in the Democratic Party machine in Georgia (Pretty much the next governor was always the Lt. Gov. under the Governor. Zell Miller was Lt. Gov, under Joe Frank Harris, Roy Barnes was Lt. Gov. under Miller.) The Democratic Party pretty much controlled the top three positions in state government (Gov., Lt. Gov., Secretary of State) and the Republicans had no chance in Hell of winning those offices. Prior to Purdue's election in 2002, the highest state office the Republicans held was State School Superintendant, and had held on to that office since the 1980s. When Purdue was elected, he was able to entice enough State Senators to switch parties that the control of the State Senate went to the Republicans; a similar thing occurred in the State Legislature, but he could not get enough people to switch parties so the Republicans would control both houses in Georgia. Purdue got elected not because of his party affliation, he got elected based on ill will towards Gov. Barnes, who alienated enough voters with the entire State Flag issue and alienated enough educators with some of his initatives to lose the election. The State Flag Issue is not dead yet, even with the results of the Statewide referendum that made the new flag official. There is a group (The Georgia Heritage Coalition, which from looking at their website is a bunch of folks that probably attend KKK rallies in their spare time) that is making an concerted effort to get every politician that voted for bill that created the new flag voted out of office, and are even calling for a boycott of Delta because tha group claims that Delta (along with other members of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce) are pushing their politcal agenda along through the State Legislature. They are also pushing boycotts of Coke, Home Depot, and MARTA.