Friday, August 22, 2014
The Pew Research Center examined The Economist's chart of the most liberal and conservative cities in America. Pew concluded that big cities do indeed lean liberal, that liberals prefer urban areas and that city governments reflect a liberal ideology. My city, NYC, is apparently number eight in liberalism and, according to another study, number one in kvetching. I'd rather it were the other way around. Regardless, Pew concluded the following:
Overall, the liberal tilt of big cities is unmistakable. Even cities with conservative reputations (such as Dallas, Santa Ana, Calif. and Cincinnati) show up as left-of-center, if only slightly. This is perhaps not surprising: As the Pew Research Center recently found, 46% of consistent liberals said they’d prefer to live in a city, versus just 4% of consistent conservatives. Liberals also are about twice as likely as conservatives to live in urban areas, while conservatives are more concentrated in rural areas.
As interesting as it can be to ponder the distinctions between, say, Denver and Colorado Springs, the researchers were mainly interested in how responsive municipal governments are to their citizens’ policy preferences. Much previous political-science research assumes that municipal politics are largely non-ideological. But after examining a range of specific municipal-level policy decisions (from the regressiveness of a city’s tax structure to its support for affordable housing), the researchers concluded that in fact, cities’ policies aligned fairly closely with their residents’ ideology. “[C]ities with more liberal populations tend to get more liberal policy…collect more taxes per capita and have substantially higher expenditures per capita….This suggests that not only is city government political, but that it may have more in common with state and national politics than previous scholars have recognized.”