It’s always fascinating to look closely at the crosstabs of survey research to see the differences among the various demographic groups.

For example, I suppose most people would correctly guess that males in Idaho are more conservative than females. Opinion research data from pollster Dan Jones & Associates bear that out. Research conducted recently shows that among those who describe themselves as very conservative, 57 percent are male and 43 percent are female. But among those who describe themselves as very liberal, only 37 percent are male, while 63 percent are female. The self-described moderates are 47 percent male, 53 percent female.

Looking at gender in political party affiliation also produces some interesting results. Thirty-six percent of Idaho males affiliate with the Republican Party, while 40 percent of Idaho women say they are Republicans. But more women also affiliate with the Democratic Party than men, 22 percent to only 9 percent.

So how can Idaho women identify with both the Republican and Democratic parties more than Idaho men? It’s because higher numbers of men are independent, affiliating with neither party, or they affiliate with some other minor party.

Some 34 percent of men are independents, compared with only 29 percent of women. And 17 percent of men affiliate with some other party, compared to only 6 percent of women. So women are more loyal to the two main parties while men are more independent and affiliate with minor parties.

Looked at another way, some 46 percent of those who affiliate with the Republican Party are male, while 54 percent are female. Only 28 percent of those who affiliate with the Democratic Party are male, while 72 percent are female. Independents and minor parties have more males than females.

Meanwhile, younger people tend to be more independent (40 percent ages 18-29 are independent), while the Republican Party hits its high point among 30-39 year olds (43 percent of that age group affiliate with the Republican Party). The Democratic Party has its highest percentages, 21 and 20 percent, among the older folks – 60-69 year olds and 70-plus, respectively.

Democratic affiliation drops lowest, only 9 percent, in the 30-39 age bracket, while Republican affiliation is lowest (33 percent) among the 60-69 age category.

All in all, Idaho is a conservative, Republican state, but there are plenty of independents, as well. As always, age, gender and other demographic categories make a difference and keep things interesting.