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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 29 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 35
Most liberal cities: Seattle tied for #3
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Most liberal cities: Seattle tied for #3

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle is tied with Oakland, California, for third most liberal city in the country, according to a study published in the American Political Science Review and summarized in The Economist magazine.

The most liberal city should be no surprise - San Francisco, a minority-majority city historically open to multiple cultures and diverse kinks, and the unofficial capital of LGBT America.

Washington, DC came in second, a fact which surprised The Economist, but DC is also minority-majority, and because it is home to the federal government, the city is also home to many federal workers who tend to favor government-sponsored social programs, economic planning, public sector unions, and other trademark 'liberal' views.

Oakland is just across the Bay from San Francisco and just south of Berkeley, home of the University of California. It too is minority-majority, and many UC students opt to live in Oakland rather than in more expensive housing in Berkeley itself.

Rounding out the top ten are Boston, Minneapolis, Detroit, New York, Buffalo, Baltimore, and Chicago.

Seattle is perhaps the whitest of the country's most liberal cities, with whites accounting for nearly 70% of the population. On the other hand, Seattle has the country's second highest per capita concentration of LGBT residents with almost 13% - just behind San Francisco.

The most conservative city is Mesa, Arizona, in Maricopa County, the jurisdiction of notoriously anti-immigrant Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

For the study, cities with more than 250,000 people were rated on their residents' response to polling on key issues like affordable housing and access to preschool. Researchers then analyzed how closely city polices mirrored the preferences of the residents.

'Liberal' cities seem to get 'liberal' policies, and 'conservative' cities seem to get 'conservative' policies ....' study authors Chris Tausanovitch (UCLA) and Christopher Warshaw (MIT) wrote.

They also found that liberal cities tend to spend up to twice as much on services than conservative cities, and have higher taxes and less regressive tax systems. Seattle, in a state with the most regressive tax structure in the country, is an exception in that regard.

PEW Research Center noted that cities identified as 'liberal' tend to be far more liberal than the ones identified as 'conservative' are conservative. Of the 62 cities surveyed for the study, only 11 fell on the conservative side of a statistical 'mean line.' In other words, big cities tend to be pretty liberal, period.

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