In today’s political climate, a lot of people believe that it is important to live near people who have similar political beliefs to themselves. Do residents of Austin, Texas tend to have a liberal or conservative mindset?
Austin, Texas is a moderately liberal city. The city has voted for the Democratic candidate in every presidential election since 2000 except for one. Travis County is very liberal. In contrast, Texas is moderately conservative, having voted for the Republican candidate in every election since 2000.
The political leanings of a city have a lot of contributing factors and indicators. To figure out whether Austin is liberal or conservative, we have to consider the presidential election results, the local leaders, the policies that are supported, and the demographics.
Texas is a moderately conservative state. The majority of residents in the state have voted for the Republican candidate in every election since 2000. In 2000 and 2004, the differences between the percentages were above 20%. In 2008 and 2012, the differences were between 10% and 20%. In 2016 and 2020, the differences were between 5% and 10%. The highest percentage difference was 22.9% in 2004, and the lowest percentage difference was 5.6% in 2020.
In the 2020 presidential election, 52.1% of residents voted for the Republican candidate, and 46.5% voted for the Democratic candidate. It had the lowest percentage difference since 1996.
Travis County, the county in which Austin is, is a moderately liberal area. Most of the residents voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since 2004, though they voted for the Republican candidate in 2000. In 2000, the difference between the percentages was 5.21%. In every other year since that time, the difference in percentages has been higher than 10%. The lowest percentage difference during that time (excluding 2000) was 14.01% in 2004, and the highest was 44.98% in 2020.
In the 2020 election, 71.41% of Travis County residents voted for the Democratic candidate, while only 26.43% voted for the Republican candidate. At 44.98%, the difference between the percentages reached an all-time high.
Austin, like Travis County and in contrast to the state of Texas, is also moderately liberal. The city voted for the Democratic candidate in every election since 2004. The difference between the percentages was higher than 10% every year except for 2000. The percentages of votes for the Democratic and Republican parties are comparable to those of Travis County.
From 2018 to 2021, there were 257,190 contributions to the Democratic party in Austin. These added up to a total of $36,665,309. In contrast, there were 38,011 contributions to the Republican party in Austin, which totaled $19,275,331. The contributions to the Republican party were 3.5 times larger on average than those to the Democratic party.
The local leaders in a city are usually representative of the political leanings of that city. The residents of the city elect their local leaders based on their promises and political beliefs, so the political leanings of the local leaders are reflective of the city at large. Looking at the party affiliations, campaign platforms, and enacted policies of the local leaders can give a window into the politics of a city, including the city of Austin, Texas.
The mayor of Austin is a very important elected official. The mayor’s job is to manage city council meetings and official city ceremonies. The mayor is a representative of the city, as in all state, national, and international matters, the mayor represents the city.
The current mayor of Austin is Stephen Adler. He was first elected in 2015, and he was reelected in 2019. His current term will end in 2023, so it is unknown whether or not he will be elected for a third term. He won the election in 2015 with 67% of the vote. He was reelected with 59% of the vote.
Mayor Adler’s campaign platforms when he ran were based mostly on three issues: affordable housing, education, and traffic. He wanted to increase the diversity of the community, improve education in the city, and deal with serious traffic congestion.
The mayoral elections in Austin are nonpartisan, so Mayor Adler does not technically belong to a political party. However, he has been seen to be affiliated with the Democratic party. The policies he supports also generally reflect a liberal mindset.
The Austin City Council is responsible for accepting the budget, imposing taxes, and changing or creating city laws. There are eleven city council members, including the mayor. The mayor is elected by the city as a whole, but the other ten people are each elected by one of the ten districts in Austin.
City council elections are nonpartisan, so none of the city council members belong to political parties. However, the recent policies that have been implemented reflect a liberal focus, meaning that at least the majority of city council members are liberal.
The policies that are in place or supported in an area can also represent the political leanings of that area. Certain policies are more likely to be supported or opposed by liberals or conservatives. Legal abortion, more gun control laws, and same-sex marriage are all more likely to be supported by liberals and opposed by conservatives.
Abortions in Texas must be performed before six weeks of pregnancy unless the patient’s life is in danger. Patients must receive state-directed counseling and ultrasound at least 24 hours before an abortion can be performed. Private insurance policies, health plans, and public funding cannot cover abortion except when life endangerment, rape, or incest is involved. The parents of a minor must consent before that minor can receive an abortion, and abortion clinics must meet strict standards.
In 2017, there were 35 facilities that provide abortions in Texas, 21 of which were clinics. This is a 25% decrease from 2014. 96% of counties in Texas did not have abortion clinics, leaving 43% of women without access to an abortion clinic.
Austin residents tend to support a decrease in abortion laws, allowing more women to have access to abortion. This is associated with a liberal perspective.
Gun Control Laws
Texas had the 26th highest gun death rate in 2020 and the 13th lowest gun export rate. Texas gun laws include mental health reporting and child access prevention laws. Texas gun laws do not include universal background checks, gun owner licensing, domestic violence gun laws, assault weapons and large capacity magazine restrictions, waiting periods, or concealed or open carry regulations.
Austin residents tend to support an increase in gun control laws to make it harder to get access to guns. This is associated with a liberal perspective rather than a conservative one.
Same-sex marriage became legal in Texas on June 26, 2015. This was the day when the Supreme Court mandate required all states to make same-sex marriage legal, so Texas was among the last states to legalize same-sex marriage. Austin residents tended to support legalizing same-sex marriage, which is associated with a liberal perspective. However, because the rest of Texas tends to lean conservative, the opinion of Austin residents was not shown in state laws, including the laws regarding same-sex marriage.
The population of Austin is about 995,484 people. The population density is 3,103 people per square mile. 49.4% of the residents are female and 50.6% are male. The median age of Austin residents is 31.8, and the average number of people per household in Austin is 2.5.
The racial makeup of Austin, Texas is as follows:
- White: 48.6%
- Black: 7.3%
- Hispanic/Latino: 34.5%
- Asian: 6.9%
- Native American: 0.2%
- Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
- Two or More Races: 2.3%
- Other: 0.2%
41.7% of Austin residents are married and 11.4% are divorced. 33.7% are married with children and 19.9% are single with children.
The average income for an Austin resident is $32,672 per year. The median household income is $55,216 per year. The unemployment rate is 5.1%. The sales tax rate is 8.3% and there is no income tax. Higher income is associated with a conservative perspective, and a higher tax rate is associated with a liberal perspective.
88.5% of Austin residents are high school graduates, and 18.1% are only high school graduates. 30.8% of residents have two-year degrees, 49% have four-year degrees, 3.1% have master’s degrees, and 2.4% have professional degrees. Those with higher education tend to be liberal.
52.4% of Austin residents are religious. 49.5% are Christian, 0% are Jewish, 0.9% are of the eastern faith, and 1.7% are affiliated with Islam. Religious people are more likely to be conservative.
The rate of violent crime in Austin on a scale of 1 to 100 is 24.9. The rate of property crime in Austin on the same scale is 55.0. The United States average is 22.7 for violent crime and 35.4 for property crime.
Overall, Austin, Texas is a moderately liberal city, but if you do not feel comfortable living in a relatively liberal city, you will not have to travel very far to live in an extremely conservative one.
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