New study ranks most liberal, conservative U.S. cities

Here's an interesting if somewhat methodolgically flawed study, released yesterday by a group called the Bay Area Center for Voting Research (never heard of 'em before, and don't know their agenda) that purports to rank the nation's most liberal and most conservative cities.

The only indicator on the liberal/conservative axis seems to be "voting patterns" (according to their press release, which says "In all, the BACVR researchers examined voting patterns of 237 American cities with populations of over 100,000 and ranked them each on liberal and conservative scales." Nary a peep on their website what elections this includes. (Hence my declaration of "methodologically flawed.")

The result this yields is that most of the nation's most liberal cities tend to be the ones with the greatest percentage of African-Americans. That makes sense when you view "liberal" purely in terms of registering and voting Democratic. The stereotypical "latte-sipping, Volvo-driving, tree-hugging liberal" oases (where "liberal" means secular, affluent, and white, along the lines of the Pew typologies) are much further down the list. (Madison is only 34th, and Eugene, OR is a whopping 54th.)

So the study's an OK starting point for thinking about where Dem numeric strengths and weaknesses lie geographically. A more interesting study to me... and one that might help the Dems greatly with tailoring messages and media buys to particular metro areas... might try to place various cities within the Pew typology template. (Of course, that would require someone to actually survey tens of thousands of people, instead of just dumping election data into Excel.)

If you can't be bothered to click on the link (based on my lukewarm endorsement), here are the top 10 and bottom 10 cities:

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Gary, IN
  3. Berkeley, CA
  4. Washington, DC
  5. Oakland, CA
  6. Inglewood, CA
  7. Newark, NJ
  8. Cambridge, MA
  9. San Francisco, CA
  10. Flint, MI

  11. Provo, UT
  12. Lubbock, TX
  13. Abilene, TX
  14. Hialeah, FL
  15. Plano, TX
  16. Colorado Springs, TX
  17. Gilbert, AZ
  18. Bakersfield, CA
  19. Lafayette, LA
  20. Orange, CA

Tags: (all tags)



The Dems are the natural home of the working class
This is the sort of data we need to counter the right wing's "Volvo driving, Latte sipping liberal elitists" meme.  Detroit, Gary, Newark, Flint, Oakland, and D.C. are working class cities where people have family values, work hard for a living, and are trying to make ends meet in the face of the right wing's deregulation/deunionization/wage cutting slave labor agenda.  (I mean family values in the good sense here, where strong family ties and a work ethic still reign.  Not the right wing's bastardazation of the term to mean an anti-gay and anti-abortion agenda.  Family values is another term we need to reclaim.)  Even Berkeley, S.F., and Cambridge are working class cities despite what the right wing noise machine would have us believe.

Latte sipping elitists?  You need look no further than Provo, Utah and Orange County, California to find them.  I'm very familiar with both :)  The right wing may be fooling some of the people some of the time with their meme, but they aren't fooling me.

I guess the big issue here is class solidarity: how to get working people barely scraping by in rural Oklahoma, Idaho, and Nebraska to see themselves in solidarity with working people barely scraping by in Flint, Gary, and Oakland.

I don't have any answers but some observations.  The right wing has been very successful in playing the race card, dividing the white working class against the Afro-American working class.  It's high time we call bullshit on the right wing's race baiting and promote class solidarity as the alternative.  I'm no Marxist, just an old school labor oriented liberal who thinks the natural home of the working class should be the Democratic Party.  The right wing has gotten away with their dividing the working class on the basis of race (using wedge issues like "crime") and on other wedge issues (guns, gays, etc.) for too long.

by ACSR 2005-08-12 03:35PM | 0 recs
Secular Don't Automatically Mean Liberal
Just as African-American does not automatically mean liberal (or not liberal), neither does secular  automatically mean liberal either. There are many secular, Big Business/Corporate "Rockefeller Republican" types in large cities.  On the other hand, large cities also create opportunities for critical mass to grow religious liberal communities (Progressive Christian, Reformed Jew, etc.).   This could be typified with the religious liberal being concerned about the environment, tolerance, and social justice,   while the secular conservative is just concerned about making money for themself.
by robstephens 2005-08-12 03:53PM | 0 recs
which ones
which ones are liberal ones?
by Commander in Chimp 2005-08-12 09:39PM | 0 recs


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