Is Cincinnati, Ohio a Liberal City?

Ohio is often a swing state in presidential elections but tends to have a Republican lean. The state’s capital, however, follows the trend of liberal majorities often found in larger cities.

Cincinnati, Ohio voted democratic in nearly every recent election. The city is moderately liberal, with the highest concentration in the urban center of the city, and conservative suburbs. Cincinnati is highly liberal for Ohio, but only moderately so on a scale of cities with higher populations.

In what ways then, is Cincinnati a liberal city and when is it considered to be more conservative? This is something that can only be answered through an analysis of the city’s behavioral trends and values.

What Views are Liberal?

First thing’s first: what views are considered more liberal, and what do conservatives believe?

Liberals and conservatives have opposing views on a large variety of political subjects. Generally speaking, liberals value a strong and involved government that will help all citizens have their needs met at a basic level. On the other hand, conservatives prefer a less-involved government that allows citizens the liberties and freedoms to keep their own needs met and solve their own issues without involvement from larger parties.

Another large difference between the two parties is that liberalists believe that religion and state/political matters should remain separate and non-interactive entities. Conservatives tend to have a strong religious background that often influences a variety, if not all, of their decisions and opinions both personally and politically.

Keeping religion aside, liberalists are supporters of embryonic research, the legalization of abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and same-sex marriage rights. Conservatives oppose these practices, valuing human lives even before birth and when terminally ill. They believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

In efforts to support their ideally involved government, liberalists often favor higher taxes, especially on the richer class to provide the poorer citizens with support. They also promote a market system economy, eco-friendly power resources, limiting the use of fossil fuels, LGBTQ marriages, legal abortions, universal healthcare, and strict gun laws keeping firearms away from citizens and in the arms of law enforcement. Conservative views value lower taxes, protecting American rights to bear arms, pro-life efforts banning abortions, religious values, and a free market economy.

As is true of most areas in the country, the center of Cincinnati is more highly liberal. The surrounding suburb areas, however, are responsible for the conservative or Republican lean in the city that more closely resembles the general opinion of the state in voting.

Voting Trends

In the most recent Presidential election, Hamilton County maintained a Democratic majority over Republican voters. 57.1% of voters in the area sided with the Democratic party candidate. 1.6% of the voting population voted Independent. The Republican party claimed just under half of the votes with 41.3%, leaving a Democratic lead.

In the 2000 and 2004 elections, Hamilton County, Ohio voted Republican. The following election, however, led to a new Democratic trend. Cincinnati has now voted Democratic in the last four Presidential elections. This includes 2008, 2012, 2016, and the election of 2020.

Financial Contributions to Political Campaigns

Another important factor in determining a city’s political views is recent individual campaign contributions. To have a more accurate depiction of the city’s financial support for the campaigns, the following data shows contributions from 2018 through 2021.

In this four-year period, the Democratic party and liberal campaigns received 40, 191 contributions for a total of $14, 224, 520 from the Cincinnati area. This shows an average of $354 per contribution.

The Republican party averaged an incredible average of $1, 206 per donation in the same four-year time span. This was, however with significantly fewer contributors. The Republican party and conservative campaigns received a grand total of $12, 570, 201 from 10, 419 contributors.

Interestingly, Cincinnati’s financial contributions are incredibly similar to the city’s voting statistics in the last Presidential election. Democrats and liberals took the majority, of both donations and votes, but the Republican and conservative populations were not far behind in numbers. In votes, they received only 9% shy of 50%, and in financial contributions, conservative and Republican campaigns received just less than $2, 000 less than the Democratic and liberal campaigns, a small difference in terms of both groups’ financial totals.

Elected Government Officials

Cincinnati’s current mayor in 2021 is Aftab Pureval. He is affiliated with the Democratic party, like most mayors of the country’s largest cities. Pureval was elected to office on January 4, 2022, and won the election with a 65.8% to 34.2% majority against his opponent: also of the Democratic party.

In a recent interview, Pureval revealed some of his plans to help the city during his four-year term as mayor.

“Moving forward, we need to make sure law enforcement has the resources necessary to do their job. The priority of which should be preventing and prosecuting violent crime. Too many illegal guns and drugs being imported into and being distributed in our city.”

Aftab Pureval; Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio

True to his Democratic party affiliation, Pureval has plans to bring more support to the law-enforcement system. He also addressed citizen handling of illegal guns and plans to combat this. The most likely method of limiting illegal guns in the city, is to strengthen gun laws and regulations for gun purchasers and owners. Both of these actions support liberal views. Pureval also expressed plans to combat climate change in the city, another priority for liberalists.

Climate Change

As promised in his campaign, Cincinnati’s new mayor intends to take efforts against climate change as one of his four main priorities. In May of 2022, an announcement was released in regards to these changes.

The mayor officially began updating procedures to renovate the Green Cincinnati Plan (GCP), which aimed at helping Cincinnati fight climate change through a series of steps and goals. Pureval intends to work with many community-involved members and organizations to take action against climate change.

The Green Cincinnati Plan was first launched in 2018. One of the major goals is to bring Cincinnati to a state of 100% renewable energy in the future. To accomplish this, a proposal was made to build the country’s largest city-owned solar array.

Efforts to limit the use of fossil fuels and increase eco-friendly and renewable energy resources is an efforts largely promoted by liberalist beliefs. The city elected a Democratic mayor promoting these plans to show their support, revealing a majority of liberalist views on the subject of climate change among the city’s residents.

LGBTQ Rights and Support

Same-sex marriage has been legal in the state of Ohio since 2015 as a result of the Supreme Court’s in the Obergefell vs Hodge case. The state is yet to approve a law against the discrimination of citizens based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, by January of 2021, 32 cities and 1 county have passed local ordinances protecting citizens from this type of discrimination in a variety of locations and circumstances.

There are several organizations and groups in the state that work to protect LGBTQ rights. Some of the largest include: “Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)”, Equitas Health, and Equality Ohio. These groups support the LGBTQ community through healthcare, education, support, and fighting for equality.

Cincinnati is the location of many pride-supporting events year-round but has a plethora of activities for the LGBTQ community and their supporters in the month of June, which is known as Pride Month. Parades, festivals, and other activities are planned in cities throughout the country to support the LGBTQ community. Some of the local events planned in Cincinnati include a Pride Kick-Off Block Party at City Hall, the Hamilton Pride Parade, New Richmond Pride Festival, and Queers with Gears. The largest of the planned events will be the 49th annual Cincinnati Pride Parade and Festival. This is a free event that will provide community members to support for members of their local community.


In May of 2022, a pro-choice protest was held in Cincinnati, Ohio. Thousands of participants attended with signs and posters promoting women’s’ rights to legal abortions. The rally was held in defiance of the Supreme Court’s pending decision on the Roe vs Wade case. A leading voice in the rally, Kesha Deibel, is the CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio. She spoke to the crowd of around 4,000 attendees supporting the protection of legal abortion rights in the US and in Ohio.

“I’m outraged, fearful, tired, and yet I’m also defiant, and I bring with me the power of the people that are here with me. And we’ll fight to make sure our constitutional freedoms remain, and abortion continues to be legal in Ohio,” 

Kersha Deibel, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio

A similar event was held in October of 2021, a Women’s March for abortion rights in Cincinnati. Nearly 200 people marched against a recent city ordinance in Lebanon making it illegal to provide, aid, fund, give transportation or provide instructions for abortion within city limits. The city is referred to as a “sanctuary city for the unborn”.

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Nathan Aydelotte

Hello! I'm Nathan, the lead editor for Suggested by locals. I grew up in the Boise, Idaho area and have lived here most of my life. I enjoy being close to the mountains where I can go hiking, camping, and mountain biking.

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