Politics can be a touchy subject in Atlanta, a city long known as a blue dot in a solidly red state. It can be so touchy that some people don’t even want to talk about it, which can make it difficult to figure out just how blue the city is compared to the rest of the country. Thanks to a forthcoming study in American Political Science Review, we now know: Atlanta is the 22nd most liberal city in the country, right between Newark and Miami.
The data comes from research by MIT’s Chris Warshaw and UCLA’s Chris Tausanovitch, who aggregated survey responses into ideological scores for every American city with more than 100,000 residents (the chart below narrows the list to those over 250,000). There’s definitely some survey bias—researchers asked more about energy and conservation, for example, than other pressing issues like education or income inequality—but the results still seem to confirm the widely-held impression that big cities tend to lean left. As Warshaw noted to us in an email, “As you might expect, most cities tend to be more liberal than the average person since conservatives tend to live in suburbs and rural areas. That’s why most cities are negative (i.e., liberal) on our scale.” A score of 0 represents the average ideology nationwide.
Out of the 67 cities listed, 11 were marked as conservative, led by Mesa, Arizona. One city is completely neutral—Fort Worth, Texas—leaving 55 cities as decidedly liberal (led by San Francisco, to nobody’s surprise).