Friday, August 12, 2005

what determines liberalism for a city? Race & Income

marjorie says...

The Center for Voting Research at Berkeley just released a report ranking cities of over 100,000 in terms of liberalism and conservatism. To derive the lists, the researchers examined the 2004 election results.

Here are the top ten:

Rank

City

State

1

Detroit

Michigan

2

Gary

Indiana

3

Berkeley

California

4

District of Columbia


5

Oakland

California

6

Inglewood

California

7

Newark

New Jersey

8

Cambridge

Massachusetts

9

San Francisco

California

10

Flint

Michigan


The Center went on to explain the results by correlating the election results with demographic data from the 2000 census, such as the city’s median age, race composition, levels of education, marriage percentages, household income, and percentage below the poverty line. The strongest identifying factor in a cities rank is race. The most liberal cities have strong working-class African-American populations and the most conservative cities are white and middle-class.


From the Center’s press release:

“The great political divide in America today is not red vs. blue, north vs. south, costal vs. interior or even rich vs. poor – it is now clearly black vs. white,” said Phil Reiff, a BACVR director.

“While there are a few liberal cities without large African American populations, these wind up being the exceptions. College towns like Berkeley and Cambridge have modest black populations but remain bastions of upper middle-class, white, intellectual liberalism. These liberal white communities, however, are more reminiscent of penguins clustering together around a shrinking iceberg than of a vibrant and growing political movement,” Reif said.

The study also finds that income and marital status are major factors in the rankings. Cities with larger poor populations tend towards liberal candidates, and cities with higher percentages of married people tend to be conservative. Which explains why Provo, Utah is at the top of that list.