Typically conservative and rural in nature, not necessarily a new Republican stronghold.
Antonym: Blue State
You can't even associate with an Atheist or a Liberal if you wish to win in a Red States.
When somebody does something incredible stupid they are refered to as a red state.
(Isn't it funny how the two states that were effected by 9/11, NY and Washington, voted in Kerry?)
In the past, media would use maps with red for one party and blue for the other, with no set standard. The current trend was set during the 2000 Presidential election, when NBC used it. The race was very close, and because of this, Tim Russert was often heard to say things like "Bush needs x more red states in order to win, and Gore needs x more blue states in order to win." Because the coverage was being watched so intently by so many people, the color scheme stuck, and is now used by all networks.
What many people don't realize is that this color scheme is actually the opposite of traditional political colors. Red has always been associated with socialism and communism (i.e. extreme forms of liberalism) as seen on flags of countries such as the P.R.C., the U.S.S.R., and the D.P.R.K. On the other hand, blue is most often associated with conservatism, and sometimes facism (i.e. the extreme form of conservatism). Most nations still use this color scheme.
It may be that NBC assigned these colors at random, or it may be because Republican and red both start with R. Neither party has officially adopted these colors. This color scheme has often led to confusion when residents of other countries see a political map of the U.S. or hear Americans discussing red states versus blue states.