An annual count released Tuesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that the number of active hate groups in the Northwest dropped dramatically in 2013.
It finds last year the number of skinhead, Neo-Nazi, Aryan Nations and other extremist groups in Washington, Oregon and Idaho dropped to 28 -- down from 42 the prior year.
The decline mirrors a sudden shift in extremist ranks nationwide.
Report author Mark Potok says in part, it has to do with the strengthening economy. But he says President Obama may also have contributed to the decline.
“I think unlike his election in 2008, which really spurred these groups to grow, his reelection had an almost opposite effect," says Potok. "It was very disheartening to the extreme right.”
The report names a holocaust denial group in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and a white nationalist group in Eugene, Ore. Many of the Northwest groups, however, were in the region's urban hubs, including two “black nationalist” groups in the Portland area.
North Idaho was once home to the headquarters of the Aryan Nations. But Potok says Idaho now only has nine active groups statewide.
“The reality is that the radical right in Idaho has had a very rough go of it over the last 10-plus years," he says. "At the same time, however, Idaho had 19 militia groups last year in 2013. So it's not like these groups have gone away -- but they are certainly far weaker in Idaho, and particularly in the Idaho panhandle, than they were 10, 15 years ago.”