POLITICAL CITIES

Best Cities for Moderates

Both Democrats and Republicans should feel right at home in each of these moderate cities

Think both the Trump followers and Clinton supporters are too extreme? If so, cast your ballot for this list: the 2016 Best Cities for Moderates. (And if that sounds like the wrong list for you, try the Best Cities for Liberals or Best Cities for Conservatives).

Why are we doing this ranking? Check the introduction for the full rationale but in short: in today’s divided country it’s easy to grow weary of all the bickering from left to right. There has to be some middle ground, right? And that’s what this list offers: the middle ground.

To find these moderate oases, we crunched election data, looking at places that didn’t swing too far to the right or left in 2012. We also turned to Esri for data on where moderates live and take part in political activities. Then we worked with Simmons Research to identify a TV network, an automobile maker, a restaurant, a retailer and a magazine that moderates tend to gravitate towards. This we call our “basket of goods.”

Once we had this basket, we looked for populations that buy these goods in the extreme, figuring that you’d want to have more in common with your neighbors than just your political yard signs.

Thus, here are the results of our 2016 Moderate Cities ranking. Let us know what you think. Are these places down-the-middle enough for you?

Ranking Criteria

2012 Presidential Election Results • Current Political Representation • Registered Voters • Consumer Habits

10. Greenville, SC Population 61,734
9. Spokane Valley, WA Population 92,286
8. Vicksburg, MS Population 23,439
7. Gainesville, FL Population 127,559
6. Chillicothe, OH Population 21,765
5. Warren, MI Population 134,857
4. Bend, OR Population 81,780
3. Avondale, AZ Population 78,872
2. Pocatello, ID Population 54,549
1. Chattanooga, TN Population 174,483
POLITICAL CITIES

Best Cities for Conservatives

Republicans should feel right at home in each of these conservative cities

Can’t bear the thought of another President named Clinton in the White House? Want to Make America Great Again? If so, cast your ballot for the 2016 Best Cities for Conservatives. (If this sounds like the wrong list for you, try the Best Cities for Liberals or Best Cities for Moderates).

Why are we doing this ranking? Glenn Beck hates it and thinks the Liberals got all the cool cities. Well, check the overview for the full rationale but in summary: in today’s divided country it’s easy to get sick of all the political in-fighting. Why not just live somewhere where folks agree with you already?

To find these conservative bastions, we crunched election data looking for huge Romney support in 2012, and data on where conservatives live and take part in political activities from Esri. Then we worked with Simmons Research to identify a TV network, an automobile maker, a restaurant, a retailer and a magazine that conservatives tend to gravitate towards. This we call our “basket of goods.”

Once we had this basket, we looked for populations that buy these goods in the extreme, figuring that you’d want to have more in common with your neighbors than just your political yard signs. You want to be able to grab some biscuits and gravy and talk about football.

Thus, here are the results of our 2016 Conservative Cities ranking. Let us know what you think. Are these places right-wing enough for you?

Ranking Criteria

2012 Presidential Election Results • Current Political Representation • Registered Voters • Consumer Habits

10. Columbus, NE Population 22,584
9. Brandon, MS Population 22,897
8. Slidell, LA Population 27,567
7. Benton, AR Population 32,725
6. Bristol, TN Population 26,674
5. Burleson, TX Population 40,652
4. Asheboro, NC Population 25,897
3. Alabaster, AL Population 31,905
2. Enid, OK Population 50,685
1. Bullhead City, AZ Population 39,424
POLITICAL CITIES

Best Cities for Liberals

Democrats should feel right at home in each of these liberal cities

Are you part of the #NEVERTRUMP movement? Are you with Hillary? Perhaps you were feeling the Bern in the primaries. If so, the 2016 Best Cities for Liberals list is for you. (If not, try the Best Cities for Conservatives or Best Cities for Moderates.)

The premise, summarized here and outlined more in the overview, is this: In today’s polarized nation it’s easy to get sick of all the partisan bickering. You’re not likely to change many minds, so why not just live somewhere where folks agree with you already?

To find these liberal meccas, we crunched election data, as well as data on political leanings and activities from Esri. Then we worked with Simmons Research to identify a TV network, an automobile brand, a restaurant, a retailer and a magazine that liberals are likely to turn to. That was our “basket of goods.”

Once we established our basket, we found areas that buy these goods in the extreme. We figure that you want to have more in common with your liberal neighbors than your Clinton yard signs. You want to be able to grab some dinner and talk about that cool sloth article you just read in National Geographic.

Thus, here are the results for 2016. Let us know what you think. Are these cities lefty enough for you?

Ranking Criteria

2012 Presidential Election Results • Current Political Representation • Registered Voters • Consumer Habits

10. Kailua, HI Population 38,722
9. Ithaca, NY Population 30,565
8. Boulder, CO Population 103,919
7. Alexandria, VA Population 149,315
6. Evanston, IL Population 75,603
5. Bethesda, MD Population 62,102
4. Cambridge, MA Population 107,916
3. Hoboken, NJ Population 52,452
2. Berkeley, CA Population 117,384
1. St. Louis, MO Population 317,850
POLITICAL CITIES

Best Cities for Liberals

Democrats should feel right at home in these liberal cities.

What makes a great city for a liberal or conservative, or a centrist for that matter?

Clearly the political landscape is important. Do the people around you share your beliefs and values? Are your elected officials in Washington D.C. representing your interests? Or is your town full of people openly carrying their firearms and trying to force their idea of morality on you?


UPDATED: The Best Cities for Liberals, Conservatives & Moderates 2016


Being a great place to live is about more than just politics. Do people around you also take part in the kinds of activities, watch the same shows, shop at the same stores and have similar interests to you? What are those goods and services, and how do they differ from party to party? Livability.com, working with advisory board member Dr. Kevin Stolarick, took both the political and nonpolitical aspects into account when creating this Top 10 list. Here's how:

We used data from several geographies: City, county and congressional district. First, we gauged the ideological skew of the congressional representation of a city. To do that, we utilized nonpartisan watchdog GovTrack’s analysis of the members of the House of Representatives on a conservative/liberal spectrum. Then, using data from Esri, we looked at how residents of each city self-report their own political leanings on a five-point scale from very liberal to very conservative. The last piece of the political puzzle was voting results from the 2012 Presidential election. Using county-level data (the most detailed that exists uniformly) we looked at the Romney/Obama split, excluding votes for third-party and write-in candidates.

That gave us a pretty good sense of the political leanings of each town.

We then asked Experian Marketing Services to help us create a basket of goods - one restaurant, one automotive brand, one magazine, one retailer and one TV show – that are heavily favored by one end of the political spectrum or another. Then, we backtracked and found areas where people use those goods and services to a high degree. For example, we found that liberals like Suburu cars way more than conservatives do, so we looked for areas where lots of people drive Suburus.

That gave us four scores: Ideology of the representation; voting of the residents; political leanings of the residents; and how the shopping habits of the residents relate to political affiliation. We weighted each evenly and came up with a grand total.

What we found, partially due to the use of county-level data for some of the measures, that certain states had a sizable number of cities that skewed one way or another. Liberal cities were most often found in California, Maryland and Massachusetts. Conservatives concentrated in places like Texas and Tennessee. If you lean one way or another, you’ll find yourself among friends in those states. To make our list a little more geographically balanced, we took the most-skewed city in each state until we had our Top 10.

How’d we do? You can cast your vote in the comments.

Ranking Criteria

2012 Presidential Vote • Ideology of congressional representative • Registered voters • Consumer habits

10. Newport, RI Population 24,459
9. Alexandria, VA Population 149,315
8. Mercer Island, WA Population 24,120
7. Ann Arbor, MI Population 116,194
6. College Park, MD Population 31,730
5. Evanston, IL Population 75,603
4. Boulder, CO Population 103,919
3. Somerville, MA Population 78,595
2. Hoboken, NJ Population 52,452
1. Berkeley, CA Population 117,384
POLITICAL CITIES

Best Cities for Moderates

Residents in moderate cities see different sides of key issues

What makes a great city for a liberal or conservative, or a moderate for that matter?

Clearly the political landscape is important. Do the people around you share your beliefs and values? Are your elected officials in Washington D.C. representing your interests? In an increasingly polarized nation, these cities offer the chance for a more spirited debate with both the right and left represented. The representation from both sides of the aisle make them ideal places for moderates to congregate. 

Being a great place to live is about more than just politics. Do people around you also take part in the kinds of activities, watch the same shows, shop at the same stores and have similar interests as you? What are those goods and services, and how do they differ from party to party? Livability.com, working with advisory board member Dr. Kevin Stolarick, took both the political and nonpolitical aspects into account when creating this Top 10 list. Here's how:

We used data from several geographies: City, county and congressional districts. First, we gauged the ideological skew of the congressional representation of a city. To do that, we utilized nonpartisan watchdog GovTrack’s analysis of the members of the House of Representatives on a conservative/liberal spectrum. Then, using data from Esri, we looked at how residents of each city self-report their own political leanings on a five-point scale from very liberal to very conservative. The last piece of the political puzzle was voting results from the 2012 Presidential election. Using county-level data (the most detailed that exists uniformly) we looked at the Romney/Obama split, excluding votes for third-party and write-in candidates.

That gave us a pretty good sense of the political leanings of each town.

We then asked Experian Marketing Services to help us create a basket of goods - one restaurant, one automotive brand, one magazine, one retailer and one TV show – that are heavily favored by one end of the political spectrum or another. Then, we backtracked and found areas where people use those goods and services to a high degree. For example, we found that liberals like Subaru cars way more than conservatives do, so we looked for areas where lots of people drive Subarus.

That gave us four scores: Ideology of the representation; voting of the residents; political leanings of the residents; and how the shopping habits of the residents relate to political affiliation. We weighted each evenly and came up with a grand total.

What we found, partially due to the use of county-level data for some of the measures, was that certain states had a sizable number of cities that skewed one way or another. Liberal cities were most often found in California, Maryland and Massachusetts. Conservatives concentrated in places like Texas and Tennessee. If you lean one way or another, you’ll find yourself among friends in those states. To make our list a little more geographically balanced, we took the most-skewed city in each state until we had our Top 10.

How’d we do? You can cast your vote in the comments.

Ranking Criteria

2012 Presidential Vote • Ideology of congressional representative • Registered voters • Consumer habits

10. Wildwood, MO Population 35,776
9. Oregon, OH Population 20,207
8. Sparks, NV Population 93,437
7. Muncie, IN Population 70,173
6. Boise, ID Population 214,196
5. Albany, GA Population 76,466
4. Gainesville, FL Population 127,559
3. Indio, CA Population 84,094
2. Bend, OR Population 81,780
1. Spokane Valley, WA Population 92,286
POLITICAL CITIES

Best Cities for Conservatives

Most Republican strongholds are located in small towns

What makes a great city for a liberal or conservative, or a centrist for that matter?

Clearly the political landscape is important. Do the people around you share your beliefs and values? Are your elected officials in Washington D.C. representing your interests? Or is your town full of hippie liberals trying to raise your taxes and force you to do yoga and build bike lanes?

Being a great place to live is about more than just politics. Do people around you also take part in the kinds of activities, watch the same shows, shop at the same stores and have similar interests to you? What are those goods and services, and how do they differ from party to party? Livability.com worked with advisory board member Dr. Kevin Stolarick to analyze both the political and nonpolitical aspects when creating this Top 10 list. Here's how:

We used data from several geographies: City, county and congressional district. First, we gauged the ideological skew of the congressional representation of a city. To do that, we utilized nonpartisan watchdog GovTrack’s analysis of the members of the House of Representatives on a conservative/liberal spectrum. Then, using data from Esri, we looked at how residents of each city self-report their own political leanings on a five-point scale from very liberal to very conservative. The last piece of the political puzzle was voting results from the 2012 presidential election. Using county-level data (the most detailed that exists uniformly) we looked at the Romney/Obama split, excluding votes for third-party and write-in candidates.

That gave us a pretty good sense of the political leanings of each town.


Wonder where the other side lives? See our list of Best Cities for Liberals.


We then asked Experian Marketing Services to help us create a basket of goods - one restaurant, one automotive brand, one magazine, one retailer and one TV show – that are heavily favored by one end of the political spectrum or another. Then, we backtracked and found areas where people uses those goods and services to a high degree. For example, we found that liberals like Suburu cars way more than conservatives do, so we looked for areas where lots of people drive Suburus.

That gave us four scores: Ideology of the representation; voting of the residents; political leanings of the residents; and how the shopping habits of the residents relate to political affiliation. We weighted each evenly and came up with a grand total.

What we found, partially due to the use of county-level data for some of the measures, was that certain states had a sizable number of cities that skewed one way or another. Liberal cities were most often found in California, Maryland and Massachusetts. Conservatives concentrated in places like Texas and Tennessee. If you lean one way or another, you’ll find yourself among friends in those states. To make our list a little more geographically balanced, we took the most-skewed city in each state until we had our Top 10.

How’d we do? You can cast your vote in the comments.

10. Benton, AR Population 32,725
9. Peachtree City, GA Population 34,868
8. Olive Branch, MS Population 35,018
7. Slidell, LA Population 27,567
6. Yukon, OK Population 24,746
5. Odessa, TX Population 111,330
4. Bristol, TN Population 26,674
3. Clinton, UT Population 21,036
2. Crestview, FL Population 22,524
1. Alabaster, AL Population 31,905