The Most Conservative and Liberal U.S. Cities

December 15th 2015

Alex Mierjeski

Americans put their money where their mouths are when it comes politics, funneling money into the campaigns of politicians running for office. And their spending patterns could say something about voting demographics, depending on which candidates receive the most and from where.

At least that's the idea behind a project by a tech startup called Crowdpac, which recently undertook ranking cities with more than 6,000 people according to more than 100 million donations to liberal and conservative candidates over the past 35 years.

Using that data, they compiled the chart below showing the ten most liberal, and the ten most conservative cities across the country.

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The Most Liberal and Conservative Cities in the U.S.

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At first glance, the pattern is not necessarily surprising: cities on liberal coasts sway liberal, whereas rural communities in the South and Midwest are more conservative. But it's nonetheless illustrative of the political binaries that so define this country.

However, as the Washington Post, which reported on Crowdpac's project, notes, political contributions such as those analyzed in the project are perhaps a better measure of voters' behavior, since they reveal "which candidates people are actively supporting," not just aligned to by party.

"We know San Francisco leans Democratic," Crowdpac's political director, Mason Harrison, told the paper. "We don't know whether those Democrats are Dennis Kucinisch Democrats or Joe Biden Democrats or Hillary Clinton Democrats."

But the measurement is not without it's complications. As OpenSecrets, a campaign finance research tool, explains, "a tiny fraction of Americans actually give campaign contributions to political candidates, parties or PACs. The ones who give contributions large enough to be itemized (over $200) is even smaller." That means big spenders could muddy what contributions say about a demographics' political leaning.

The Post notes that Crowdpac ranked cities with at least 10 individual donors to try and combat skewed data.

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Head over to Crowdpac's search tool to see where your hometown ranks.