Fairbanks, Alaska is becoming one of the more popular cities in Alaska. Many people have been moving there recently because of the political focus within the state, but are these residents typically more conservative or liberal in terms of their political views?
Fairbanks, Alaska is a conservative city. In the 2020 presidential election, Fairbanks voted 53% Republican and 41% Democrat. Fairbanks has remained Republican for many years. Overall, Alaska is a very conservative state and has leaned Republican since becoming a state.
If you’re looking to move to Fairbanks, Alaska, you’ll want to understand the state politics and how they may influence the city of Fairbanks. The purpose of this article is to help provide potential newcomers with this information to help them be more informed about the area before moving there.
Political History in Alaska
Alaska became the 49th state in the United States in 1959 and quickly became a very conservative state. Alaska is the only state within the United States to solely vote Republican, making it very historically unique and consistent in its overall political history. There are absolutely Democratic areas in Alaska, but there is not enough of a Democratic population to sway the state away from being Republican in terms of overall voting majority and statistics.
With Alaska’s running history of remaining Republican since becoming a state, there has only ever been one exception. In 1964, Alaska voted Democrat, and there were a couple of close elections following that. However, Alaska has continued to remain a largely Republican state overall. Alaska is by far one of the hardest states to sway towards a Democratic viewpoint.
So, why does Alaska hold strong in the Republican party? Some people believe it’s because it became a state much later than most and it was the state that was needed to balance politics. Others believe it’s because of the working class and natives that live in Alaska, both of which are groups known to generally have more conservative beliefs. There is no definite answer as to why Alaska holds strong to the Republican party, but many find themselves moving to Alaska because of its strong Republican majority.
In today’s politics in Alaska, more people are registered as unaffiliated voters rather than to any specific party. This has been the case in the past as well, and most people end up changing to the Republican Party or voting Republican when deviating from this group of unaffiliated individuals.
Fairbanks, Alaska is interesting when it comes to politics. While the majority of Fairbanks is strongly Republican, it does have a significant amount of registered Democrats as well. There is a good mix of the two parties in the area due to the organizations that are there. I want to dive more into what influences Fairbanks politics.
Fairbanks military base called Fort Wainwright is a very well-known military base in Alaska. Naturally, most people who serve in the military, work for the military, or have family members serving in the military are registered as Republican voters. This is not a large surprise, as it is well understood that a lot of the serving military and their families have more conservative political views.
With this being said, most of the military makes up Fairbanks’s Republican population in the north. This military base has a huge influence on the town of Fairbanks.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The University of Alaska Fairbanks holds most of the town’s Democratic population. Most universities in the United States do have a large Democratic population. So, this is really no big surprise when looking at the political sides of Fairbanks. With this being said, the university has a very small student body that only consists of around 9,300 students. Many of these younger individuals represent the more liberal views in the city. The portion of residents registered as Democrats is composed of many college students.
Fairbanks, Alaska has an overall population of around 31,500 people, so the university makes up a very small portion of that number. The military base does have twice the number of people, so it does override that Democratic population the university has. This helps greatly in the overall statistics of a Republican majority in the city among both registered and participating voter populations.
Looking at a Map
When looking at a map of Fairbank’s political majority, showing areas as either very conservative versus very liberal, there are no liberal spots anywhere on the map. You have areas that are split evenly, one of these areas being the one with the university, and then the rest are very conservative. No big surprise that one of the most conservative areas is the one with the military base.
With this being said, there is still a close divide in votes between the Republicans and Democrats. With 53% of residents being Republican and 41% Democrat, the 2020 Presidential election was a close call in Fairbanks. Could Fairbanks switch to Democrat in the future? It could, but with the military base providing such a consistently large group of strong Republicans, it isn’t likely.
Most of the people that live in Fairbanks are hard labor workers, so this has a huge influence on the way that they both register and vote. Many of the people who do not have higher education tend to vote Republican.
Around 33% of the population in Fairbanks has higher levels of education (more education than a high school diploma), while the rest of the population has only a high school education or less. Women who get higher education tend to vote more Democrat, but with around 47% of Fairbanks population being women with little to no higher education, this makes them vote more conservatively.
Fairbanks, Alaska is actually quite a large town for Alaska. There are two areas Fairbanks can be divided into: North Star Borough County and Fairbanks Metro. Both areas are very conservative with little to no difference from one another, and there are very few outliers who are registered otherwise.
There seems to be more information on North Star Borough County than Fairbanks Metro. Within the past 4 years, there were actually more registered Democrats than Republicans in the area of North Star Borough County, but the vote came out to favor the Republican party in Fairbanks.
Like many cities in Alaska, Fairbanks has incredibly large nature areas surrounding the city. With the Tanana River running alongside the city, fishing is a rather popular pastime in the area. It is also a large hunting area as well. Both of these are hobbies that are supported more by conservative voters than liberally minded individuals. This is likely due to their desire to protect gun possession rights for citizens, allowing them to participate in the sport.
The Fairbanks economy is quite good for it being such a small town. Obviously, a lot of their money comes in from the university and the military base, but nonetheless, that thriving economy does its best to help support its fellow Republicans in the population. If you compare Fairbanks to a Democratic town that has around the same population within the US, their economy is by far better than that of a Democratic-run town.
As much as people like to argue that the economy does not affect people’s votes, it actually does in a lot of ways. Fairbanks is a prime example of this. As long as the economy is good, you will tend to have more Republicans than Democrats and it will influence the vote and population to be more conservative.
Looking Into the Future
Looking at Alaska as a whole and how many people strongly support the Republican Party, it is very unlikely that the residents will become Democrats anytime soon. The majority of Alaska is Republican, with a few exceptions in some areas. If you are looking to move to a conservative state or area, Alaska is one of the best options if you don’t mind the cold. With such a strong Republican majority, other members of the party will feel right at home. While it is possible for Democrats to fit in as well, it is always much less difficult when you are able to connect with other residents based on common beliefs.
One thing that I admire about Alaska is how consistent they are in its politics. While Fairbanks does have a good amount of registered Democrats, many people still share the same values within the community, making it far less contentious than many other areas found throughout the United States.
One thing to look into when voting in Alaska is the Alaskan Independent Party because many votes actually go toward that party. This makes it so you cannot vote in the primaries, but in the overall presidential election and local elections, being unaffiliated gives you more options. I do find it interesting that Fairbanks has more registered unaffiliated voters than they do Democrats or Republicans. This proves that the four of the community are more toward values rather than a political party.