The states whose residents are most likely to support secession: Alaska, Texas, and California

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
February 14, 2024, 4:22 PM GMT+0

Around one in four Americans say they would support their state seceding — ranging from 9% in Connecticut to 36% in Alaska, among 46 states analyzed.

From California to Texas to New Hampshire, calls for state secession have made headlines recently, sparking debates over whether states have a right to secede. We asked over 35,000 U.S. adults to tell us their views on secession.

Besides the overall finding of significant support for secession, the poll found that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support their state seceding, regardless of whether they live in a primarily Republican or Democratic state. Larger and more populated states — including California, Texas, and New York — are more likely than smaller and less populous states to have a higher share of residents who favor secession. Most Americans who are in favor of their state seceding believe that doing so is a constitutional right, while most who oppose it believe this right does not exist.

Support for secession

A total of 23% of Americans say they would support their state seceding from the U.S. Half (51%) oppose secession and 27% are unsure. (Even more – 28% — would support a state other than their own seceding.) Support for secession is higher among younger adults than among older Americans. Republicans (29%) are somewhat more likely to support secession than Democrats (21%) or Independents (19%).

Secession is most popular in Alaska (36%), Texas (31%), and California (29%). While a variety of factors are likely at play, there is a significant correlation between support for secession within a state and that state's physical size as well as its population; the largest and most populous states have among the highest levels of support. The most pro-secession states are a mix of Democratic states — such as California and New York — and Republican states — such as Texas and Oklahoma.

We also examined how support for secession varies by political identity within each of the 33 states in which the survey had at least 100 Democrats or Democratic-leaning Independents and also 100 Republicans or Republican-leaning Independents. In this section, we'll refer to these groups as Democrats and Republicans, respectively.

In nearly all the states included in our analysis, support for secession is higher among Republicans than among Democrats. In California, New Jersey, and Minnesota, however, Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to favor secession.

A right to secede?

While many legal scholars say that the U.S. Constitution does not give states a right to secede, 26% of Americans disagree, believing that it does include such a right. 35% say there is no right to secession, and 39% are not sure. Most people who support their state seceding believe secession is a constitutional right (61%), compared to just 16% of people who oppose secession; 54% who oppose it believe it is not a right.

Explore the data by state

Explore state-level results for all three questions in this survey below:

— Carl Bialik contributed to this article

See the results for this YouGov poll:

Methodology: The Daily Questions survey was conducted online on February 2 - 5, 2024 among 35,307 U.S. adults. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, U.S. census region, and political party.

Image: Getty (Sergio Flores)