Salem is Oregon's capital, the seat of state government. But no one would call it the capital of Oregon's vaunted liberalism/progressivism.
(In the 2014 midterms we were the only state that added to its Democratic majorities in the state House and Senate; we reelected a Democratic governor and U.S. Senator; and we legalized recreational marijuana. Yay, us!)
Rather, Salem lies between two cities with much stronger liberal reputations, Portland and Eugene. Salem has just about the same population of Eugene, but nowhere near its blue cool'ness. Portland kicks our butt in this regard to an even greater extent.
Which is kind of depressing for progressives like me who live in or near Salem. I was cheered up, though, after a fellow political junkie sent me some charts about how Salemians voted in the 2014 presidential election.
Obama rocked it over Romney by 10%! Not even close.
The chart above shows how Salem compared with Marion County, Polk County (the two counties comprising the Salem city limits), and Oregon. Salem voted for Obama by just 2% less than the state as a whole, 53% vs. 55%. Marion and Polk county voters as a whole went for Romney.
Thus Salem appears to be almost as liberal as all of Oregon, while being more liberal than the two counties that contain it.
Above you can see the 2012 presidential election results by ward -- which is how Salem's eight city council seats are divided by district. Each ward had about the same population in the 2010 census.
Six of the eight wards went for Obama, two of them (wards 1 & 2) overwhelmingly. Only two wards, 4 and 8, cast a majority of votes for Romney. Yet even in conservative-leaning South Salem and West Salem, Obama got 46% and 48% respectively.
So Salem is more liberal/progressive than many people give the city credit for.
If Salemians voted for local officials such as the Mayor and City Councilors in the same political fashion as they voted in the last presidential election, this town would have a much more liberal-leaning city government than it does now.
I can only hope... for 2016.
Yeah but. Looking at those percentages tells you how much higher turnout is in the more affluent wards. The people who most need government to work are the least likely to participate in giving it directions.
Posted by: Walker | November 13, 2014 at 09:38 PM
Good information thanks for sharing.
Posted by: Milan | August 08, 2020 at 06:51 AM