Louisiana is as red as they come in term of Deep South voting trends, but its large bloc of registered Democrats make the state seem “purple” on the surface. That’s despite the fact that presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a 99.7 percent chance of carrying the state.

The New York Times reports that Louisiana has 1.4 million registered Democrats in the state, almost half of its 2.9 million registered voters:

But while Louisiana votes consistently with the Deep South, its conservative engine is made up of slightly different parts, some of which, when viewed in isolation, falsely appears to make Louisiana more pink, or purple, than red.

Of the roughly 2.9 million registered voters in the state, 1.4 million are registered as Democrats, while about 789,000 are registered Republicans and another 694,000 registered as “other.” Even if every “other” voter sided with the Republicans, it would appear that Louisiana is a hotly contested state. So how is every major state office held by a Republican?

The Catholic vote is strongest in the predominantly Cajun southwestern part of the state known as Acadiana. Catholic voters once made up a large part of the “swing” vote in Louisiana, before social issues like abortion and same-sex marriage became part of the political conversation. In 1992, 41 percent of all voters in the state identified themselves as Catholics, and 47 percent of Catholics voted for Bill Clinton. By 2008, the vote had switched, with 70 percent of Catholics voting for Mr. McCain.

“Cajun Catholics are no longer moderately swing votes at all,” Mr. Parent said. “They are becoming as reliably Republican as Southern Baptists.”
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