Well known for beautiful nature and a plethora of outdoor activities, the great State of Idaho is an increasingly popular location for out-of-staters looking to relocate. Despite this large income of citizens from other US states, Idaho remains a very RED state, a united and republican-natured community.
Boise, Idaho remains conservative in laws, practices, standards, beliefs, and voting tendencies. Boise may be the state’s most liberal city but continues to strongly reflect the state’s heavily conservative views, despite increasing numbers of newcomers from liberally-minded states.
Family values, low government involvement, and the strength of personal freedoms and liberties remain strong in the core beliefs of Idahoans. These factors, among others, mark the state and its capital as conservative cities and populations by nature.
What Views are Considered Conservative?
Conservative beliefs are most commonly affiliated with the Republican party, while the opposing Democratic party tends to be more liberal by nature. Policies considered to be on the more conservative side generally protect and promote individual freedoms, limiting government involvement or increase in power over the people.
They believe strongly that the government’s role should be focused on permitting personal liberties and freedoms to the people that allow them to achieve their own goals and play their own roles as they please. Conservatives value individualism, free markets, personal freedoms and liberties, strong national defense, religious beliefs and habits, limited government involvement, and traditional American and family values.
Right at home in this environment, the state of Idaho is the perfect place to find these beliefs, stances, and morals. They are largely accepted throughout the state, something to be discussed in classic republican scenes such as backyard BBQs or a shooting range out in the country.
Boise can be easily proved more liberal than the rest of the state, but the term is much more lightly applied in such conservative surroundings. The north end of Boise is known to be the most liberal part of the city, but even these residents are more accurately described as conservative liberals.
The other areas of the city, especially areas that border other cities. All of Boise’s neighboring city communities are strongly conservative communities such as Meridian, Kuna, Eagle, Nampa, and others.
Newcomers to the state are also affected by and even drawn to Idaho because of this strongly conservative environment. Idaho was the nation’s fastest-growing state in 2019, receiving over 80,000 newcomers! The vast majority of these new move-ins flocked from the golden state of California. Many of these former Californian residents relocated to the Gem State to be with others who share their republican views.
Being the state’s largest city and capital, Boise received these newcomers at incredible rates, adding to the already strong Republican mindset and resolve.
Low Tax Rates
According to Idaho Commerce, Idaho has the lowest per capita tax burden of any other state in the nation! Idaho has only a 1.5% property tax and a general sales tax of only 6%! For those who live in Boise, the combined tax rate is only 6%, due to the 0% for Boise’s city sales tax and another whopping 0% for county taxes. Boise stands by the state’s low taxing rates, holding strong with the remainder of the state’s Republican population.
The second amendment of the United States declares that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. Idahoans believe in this strongly, including the city of Boise. There is no state permit required to purchase or possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.
Idaho has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, ranking #49 of the 50 states according to everytown.org. In 2021, CBS News released information on American households with guns in their homes. They report that 60.1% of adults in Idaho live with at least one gun in the home.
Shooting ranges are a common location for Idahoans, with organizations and groups formed to provide more locations in the Boise area. The Step Outside organization lists around seventeen registered shooting ranges and gun clubs in the Boise area alone.
Boise State University is located in the state’s capital and has more than 25,000 students enrolled. In 2014, Idaho law permitted the carrying of concealed firearms on Boise State property for qualified retired law enforcement concealed carry license holders and enhanced concealed carry license holders.
The city provided additional permission for an increase in the group of people permitted to carry concealed weapons on the campus of its own University. Boise holds true to conservative beliefs of keeping good and law-abiding citizens armed in public places.
Strong Religious Community and Values
According to recent statistics, just over 44% of Boise, Idaho residents are religious. This is a high percentage for a city population of 237,446, claiming nearly half of the city’s residents! These people belong to a variety of religions: Catholic, Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Pentecostal, Non-denominational Christian, Methodist, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian, Lutheran, Judaism, and more.
There are hundreds of churches and chapels in the city of Boise. There are also many other religious buildings in the area including a few Buddhist temples, a Hindu Temple, an LDS temple, and a Boise Synagogue.
Another reflection of Boise’s strong religious affiliations can be viewed in the education system. There are a variety of private schools in the city that emphasize religious beliefs, traditions, and values. These include St. Marks Elementary school, St. Mary’s, Sacred Heart, St Joseph’s, Nampa Christian, Bishop Kelly High School, and a variety of Catholic schools.
Growing up in the Boise area, religion was always prominent. My friends, family, and I participated in a wide variety of sports, music, art, and other extracurricular activities. In nearly every competing event or performance, many (if not all) of the students joined in prayer, even in public schools. We prayed that we would do our best and for other teams and groups to do well also, and that we would be able to enjoy ourselves and compete/perform safely. It was a common practice for many schools and groups.
This was not school-led, expected, or sanctioned, but the majority of students and athletes grew up in religious homes and those who didn’t participate in the largest religious community in Boise.
Following the lead of cities around the state, Ada county government officials have a strong tendency to lean republican and conservative in situations that favor a single party. When not republican, the candidates are commonly impartial, leaving a liberal bias completely out of the picture. The elected Ada County Prosecutors, for example, have been republican for the last 40 years.
In Ada County Judicial elections by statute are non-partisan. Far from the situation in other states, there is no discernable democratic or republican lean in one direction or the other. The lack of bias results in voters choosing more based on the candidate as an individual rather than voting solely based on their political party.
Mask mandates and measures against COVID-19 have been much more relaxed than in other states during the 2020 COVID pandemic and the subsequent months and years. Boise currently has an optional mask status for workers and patrons in city facilities, while other states continue forward with mask mandates in many public facilities for workers and even the general public.
Even with Boise as such a large city, the state of Idaho was highly conservative in COVID measures and kept individual businesses and schools open as often as possible, quickly adjusting mask regulations to options and leaving vaccine and mask usage decisions to individual citizens.
As stated by the State Governor, Idaho worked through the pandemic with largely conservative efforts and actions. Boise was considerably lighter on strict mask mandates and COVID-19 measures than nearly every other state’s capital city but fared well in resulting health and community turnouts.
Voting Tendencies Lean Highly Republican
While the democratic party is taking more votes each year in Ada County, Boise has voted Republican in 100% of elections since the year 2000. Even since 1900, Boise has only voted Democratic 29% of the time, and voted with the Republican party in an overwhelming 71% of elections!
The city of Boise is also contributing far more to the Republican Party and Conservative campaigns than that of Democratic or Liberal options. In the $2,524,167 contributed to the Republican party from 2018-2021, there was an average of $257 per contribution, while the city averaged only $52 per contribution to the Democratic party in the same span of time.
What to Remember
Even those who are identified by Idahoans as more liberally-minded are conservative liberals, and hardly even resemble liberal voters found in other states. In such a highly conservative environment, even the slightest inclination to a more liberal policy or idea can be labeled as “liberal”, even while only so in comparison to the staunch republican nature of the surrounding community.
Always remember that even though the city of Boise, Idaho is mainly conservative, there are still people who have liberal viewpoints as well.
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