Politics is not a common conversation topic in Atlanta. However, knowing where the city stands on politics can be helpful if you plan on visiting or moving to the area.
Within Atlanta city limits, many identify themselves as liberals. In the most recent election, the majority of Atlanta residents voted Democrat. Among the Atlanta suburbs, residents become more moderate. Throughout the rest of Georgia, counties are predominantly conservative.
Although it is difficult to get Atlanta natives to discuss politics, we spoke with several to find out exactly how liberal the city is. Keep reading to learn if Atlanta is liberal and how the city leans on some policies!
Atlanta: According to the Locals
As mentioned above, speaking with Atlanta locals about politics is hard to do. With much of the nation so willing to divulge their political opinions, why is the small region different?
After speaking with a few of the locals it became clear many prefer to keep their political opinions to themself because of the region’s heavy ties to religion.
“It’s a touchy subject in Atlanta. … Because it’s in the middle of the Bible Belt politics and religion get mixed together a lot so that’s why people just tend to not talk about it.”Julia, Atlanta Local
Some believe that because Atlanta is located in the Bible Belt the city will be more conservative-leaning. However, the area’s strong religious presence merely keeps residents from talking about the subject.
Several of the locals I spoke with believed that the city was not liberal. However, a look at voting patterns and political research studies showed differently.
Although Atlanta is not considered to be one of the most liberal cities in the United States, in the 2020 General Election the city voted overwhelmingly Democratic.
Within the city limits of Atlanta, there are only around 488,000 people; however, the surrounding metropolitan’s population is around six million people. This means the Atlanta Metropolitan area accounts for 60% of the population of Georgia.
In the 2020 election, 49.5% of Georgians voted for Joe Biden with 49.3% voting for Donald Trump.
In Fulton County, 72.6% of residents voted for Biden. Other counties in the metropolitan area that voted left included Gwinnett, Rockdale, Newton, Henry, Clayton, Douglas, and Cobb. With the assistance of a handful of other counties, Democrats were able to flip the normally Republican state.
While locals agree that the city is liberal, they pointed out that the rest of the surrounding area tends to be more conservative.
Because it is a huge city it’s obviously more liberal. But then you got the suburbs outside of Atlanta which are more conservative.Claire, Atlanta Local
The suburbs immediately around Atlanta while predominantly liberal do have more conservative sway than the city itself. While only 26.2% of Fulton County residents voted republican in 2020, nearby Newton count saw 44% of residents vote republican. In fact, Cobb county (located directly adjacent to Fulton County) had 42% vote republican.
See more about 2020 election results on Politico.
Once you get past the moderate suburbs, most of Georgia’s counties are conservative.
While voting status might change drastically across the state, after hearing what the locals had to say it became clear that most are welcoming of people with different beliefs.
For the most part I say you don’t have to worry about being in danger/not accepted because of who you are.Jordan, Atlanta Local
Locals who believed the city to be more liberal noted that mask restrictions and vaccine rollouts are more common in Atlanta than they are across the rest of Georgia.
Atlanta’s Voting Patterns Over the Years
Over the years Atlanta’s, as well as the entire state of Georgia’s voting patterns have begun to shift.
In 2000, 55% of Georgia residents voted for the Republican presidential candidate. That same election showed that Fulton County was evenly split between the Republican and Democratic candidates.
In the next presidential election, support in Georgia for the Republican candidate grew by 3%. However, the divide in Fulton County grew with more residents voting democratic. This trend continued for the next several years until the growing city helped overturn the state’s republican run in the 2020 presidential election.
The counties surrounding Atlanta only started to vote predominantly democratic between 2012 and 2016. This means that Atlanta has only recently begun to vote in the more liberal view.
The election results in Georgia can be found on the Georgia Secretary of State‘s website here!
With Atlanta’s recent growth and urban expansion, it would be fair to assume that the city’s influence will continue to spread to neighboring towns and counties. Liberal views are becoming more popular as time goes on.
A hot topic in Atlanta currently is the state’s voting laws.
Although the state voted democratically in the 2020 election, the Georgia Legislature began considering several predominantly Republican bills regarding restricting voting in 2021.
By March 2021, the laws had passed and many were unhappy with the decision. Those in the Atlanta area were especially upset with the new restrictions and many companies responded by pulling their business from the state, leaving the economy with a hole to fill.
The Major League Baseball Commissioner was one of the first to respond to the election reform by pulling the MLB from Atlanta. This meant that the annual draft and All-Star Game would be hosted elsewhere.
Local representatives worried the MLB’s decision would cost Atlanta business owners millions of dollars due to the loss of business.
The new laws outline an early cut-off date for absentee and mail-in voting as well as new requirements for identification when voting.
Atlanta prides itself on being one of the most inclusive cities in the nation. However, the city only recently began to take steps to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals.
In 2019, metro Atlanta began considering the implementation of a nondiscrimination ordinance. This would prohibit businesses from refusing business to a variety of groups including the LGBTQ community. The ordinance passed that same year.
Previous ordinances had already been in place in Atlanta for nearly two decades. In 2018 the cities surrounding Atlanta began to follow the cities example by passing ordinances of their own. The influence did not stop in just the metro Atlanta area. Several cities across the state of Georgia have started to follow suit.
As the Atlanta area has become more inclusive, a variety of festivals and parades celebrating gay pride have become common.
Some of the annual events include the Atlanta Pride Trans March, Bi & Pan March, Dyke March, and the most popular, the Gay Pride Parade.
Overall, Atlanta locals are proud of the city’s welcoming nature to everyone no matter their religion, race, or sexual identity.
Atlanta: Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?
In 2019, the Georgia State Legislature passed HB 481. The new law outlawed abortion after 6 weeks unless the mother’s life was at risk. After being signed into law by the Governor, protestors took to the street.
That day thousands of people convened at the Capitol steps in Atlanta to protest the new law. Planned Parenthood Southeast took both the state of Alabama and Georgia to court after the passing of pro-life bills.
Although Atlanta appears to be more pro-choice the city does not host as many events for this topic as they do for Gay Rights.
While pro-choice organizations in the area do not host events, Georgia Right to Life hosts a march for life each year. The Annual Georgia March For Life & Memorial Service takes place in Atlanta on January 22nd.
Participants start at Liberty Plaza and the march concludes at the Capitol. After rallying at the Capitol, participants then join in the Silent March in memorial of the abortions that took place that year.
The Georgia Right to Life event in 2020 turnout was estimated to be over 400 people. The organization also hosts the same walking event across the state.
Although there more pro-life events in the city of Atlanta, the city overall tends to be more pro-choice.
The state of Georgia requires those who would like to carry a concealed weapon to possess a Weapons Carry License (WCL).
The state does not require any training before issuing individuals their Weapons Carry License. However, they do require that applicants for the license be at least 21 years of age.
In Atlanta, it is illegal to carry a weapon without a license as well as to take it in restricted areas. Areas, where weapons are prohibited, include schools and government buildings. Atlanta also restricts the possession of machine guns, silencers, and shotguns.
Many of Atlanta’s residents enjoy hunting at Pigeon Mountain and the Dawson Forest. These hunters are required to obtain a license for hunting with a firearm. Hunters are also required to wear fluorescent arms while hunting in order to protect themselves and others.
When transporting guns in Atlanta, the firearm must be secured in a gun case. Other restrictions to gun transportation apply to machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and silencers. All of these are to avoid unfortunate incidents.
The state of Georgia prohibits the possession and transportation of firearms by convicted felons.
Learn more about gun laws in Atlanta From Yates & Wheland here!
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