Despite the persistent re-election of a Republican as governor, this tiny state is predictably Democratic.
The sole Republican left on its Congressional delegation, the patrician Lincoln Chafee, looks increasingly out of place in his party, and after the 2002 mid-terms was the subject of rumours that he might switch.
Between 1940 and 1980, Rhode Island did not elect a single Republican congressman and in 2000 Al Gore won 61% of the vote.
Democrats have made a platform on education, the environment and social issues, but Republicans have gained support through anti-corruption campaigns.
Population: 1,048,319 (ranked 43 among states)
Governor: Don Carcieri (R)
Electoral college votes: 4
Rhode Island can be traversed in 45 minutes despite containing a 400-mile coastline that winds along the Atlantic to Connecticut.
The state is home to relaxed academic and artistic communities such as Providence as well as districts such as Newport, a place that for decades has been a playground for America's elite.
House of Representatives:
Senate: 1 Democrat, 1 Republican
Most of Rhode Island's industry is located in the 2nd Congressional District, although those industries are switching from the manufacturing to service sector.
Health services is now the state's largest industry, and tourism is its second, while IT and financial services are growing.
2000: Bush 32%, Gore 61%
1996: Clinton 60%, Dole 27%, Perot 11%
1992: Clinton 47%, Bush 29%, Perot 23%
Rhode Island, with its many working-class towns, suffered a significant rise in unemployment during the recent recession (although it is now recovering) and the state's population has continued to sink. This has not altered Rhode Island's political complexion.