“”Welcome to Montana, now go away!” is a popular bumper sticker. The Redoubt states have a conflicted attitude towards immigration from Californians, Washingtonians, Nevadans, and others. The increased economic activity is a boon, but there’s accompanying increase in congestion, property values, and the specter of California style politics and culture being imported into the area.
Some research shows that the political concerns are largely unfounded. A study from Boise State University shows that the political outlook and affiliation of those moving to Idaho is very similar to the political makeup that already exists. The study “Don’t California My Idaho?” even notes that the people moving into Idaho from California are actually more conservative than the average Idaho resident. For someone to leave a “liberal paradise” like California, they’re likely to be driven by a genuine desire for something different, not just wanting to bring their problems with them.
We speculate that this effect is even more pronounced outside Boise and the other major southern Idaho cities, and outside of Missoula, Bozeman, and Cheyenne. For people relocating to smaller cities and towns in the Redoubt, there’s an even greater percentage of conservative immigrants. It’s becoming a common pattern when you meet a family visiting the redoubt–they’re largely conservative, from California, and looking for better life for their family!