Fayetteville, Arkansas is a nice city in the Northwestern region of the state. Most of Arkansas is very conservative, but is Fayetteville a conservative city?
Fayetteville, Arkansas is not a conservative city. Fayetteville is a college town and therefore has many students and university employees that often vote Democrat rather than Republican. While the city itself leans left, the county and state are highly conservative.
There are a lot of things that go into making a city conservative or liberal, including its size and influence on the surrounding area. We’ll go over how Fayetteville tends to vote below.
Info about Fayetteville, AR
- Population: 95,230
- Race: White (non-Hispanic) 77.2%, Hispanic/Latino 8.1%, Black 5.9%, Asian 3.0%
- Median Household Income: $47,350
Fayetteville is a fantastic place to live. It sits in a region that is known to most people as Northwestern Arkansas. The area includes Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville, and Rogers.
Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, the flagship university in the state. The city takes pride in being a college town. Northwestern Arkansas is also home to the Walmart headquarters. Walmart is one of the biggest companies in the US, and they spend money investing in the area to provide a great place to live for their employees. While the headquarters is up the road in Bentonville, Fayetteville does see some benefits from having the company headquarters close by.
Fayetteville sits in the Boston Mountains of the Ozarks. Between the hills and nearby Beaver Lake, there is a ton to do in the area. Popular outdoor activities include mountain biking, hiking, swimming, and bass fishing.
Arkansas ranks 5th in the US for violent crime. Northwest Arkansas is safer than most of the rest of the state, but the violent crime rate in Fayetteville sits above the national average.
Washington County has trended towards the left over the last decade but has still reliably voted for Republican candidates in presidential elections. The county contains most of Springdale to the north, is about the same size as Fayetteville, and is much more conservative. This does tend to influence the results of the county, making them more conservative.
In the 2020 presidential election, Washington County, including Fayetteville, voted 50.4% for the Republican candidate Donald Trump. 46.5% of the county voted for the Democrat candidate Joe Biden. In the 2016 election, Donald Trump received 50.67% of the vote, while the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, the wife of the former Arkansas Governor, only received 40.76% of the vote. In the 2012 presidential election, the Republican candidate received 56.33% of the vote in the county while the Democrat Incumbent only received 40.07% of the vote.
In the 2020 Senate race, the county voted for Republican Tom Cotton to represent the state. This election was slightly unusual though since it featured Republican and Libertarian candidates with no Democrat challenger. The Libertarian candidate was Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. who actually received 46.67% of the vote. He seems to have picked up many of the Democrat voters that didn’t want to vote for a Republican.
Arkansas has historically had mostly Democrat senators in the US Senate. This really didn’t change until the last 20 years of State history. Currently, the state has 2 Republican senators.
Fayetteville is part of Arkansas’s House District 3, which it shares with the rest of Northwestern Arizona. The district has had a Republican representative since 1990 with the current representative Steve Womack holding the seat since 2010. Washington county itself voted 53% for Womack and 43% for the Democrat candidate.
Redistricting in the state will make the 3rd District lose some territory to the East, but it is still expected to be solidly republican going forward.
State and Local Elections
Arkansas has had mostly liberal governors in the past, including former president Bill Clinton. The current Republican governor Asa Hutchinson replaced a Democrat predecessor as governor in 2014. In the 2018 election, Washington County voted 54.6% for Asa Hutchinson (R) and 42.6% for the Democrat Candidate.
The upcoming 2022 gubernatorial election appears to favor the Republican candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is the daughter of recent Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (R).
The Arkansas General Assembly was controlled by Democrats for most of its history, but that recently changed in 2010 when Republicans retook the Assembly. After taking the Assembly in 2010, the following elections quickly solidified the Republican hold on the state which is the reverse of what it used to be. The Arkansas legislature now has a veto-proof Republican majority.
Fayetteville does have a Democrat state senator representing the area. Fayetteville is in state Senate District 4, which is currently held by Democrat Greg Leding. Leding won the seat in 2018 by nearly 20%. This race shows that Fayetteville is in fact more liberal than its surrounding area.
Fayetteville also has 3 Democrat representatives in the State House.
City-level elections in Fayetteville are considered non-partisan, so it is important to research the candidates you vote for to determine how their politics align with yours. The current Mayor of Fayetteville is Mayor Lioneld Jordan. The mayor said this of the mask mandates during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“You know what? I thought the mask ordinance was the right thing to do,” he continued, “we saw that we needed to keep everybody protected, but that we needed to keep our local businesses going.”Mayor Lioneld Jordan
Arkansas is a moderate state in terms of the overall tax burden. Sales taxes are high, but the income tax is moderate and the property taxes are fairly low.
The state does have an income tax on a graduated scale. That goes from 2% to 5.5% depending on your income level.
Fayetteville does have a fairly high sales tax compared to other places. Residents of Fayetteville pay 9.75% in sales taxes for every purchase. This is broken up in the following way:
- State of Arkansas: 6.5%
- Washington County: 1.25%
- Fayetteville City: 2.0%
Fayetteville also has pretty high taxes on eating out, unfortunately. The city also has a special sales tax on hotels, motels, and restaurants of 2.0%, so if you’re going out to eat in Fayetteville, you’ll be paying an 11.75% sales tax on your meal.
Property taxes in Arkansas are relatively low when compared to the rest of the country. The current property tax rate in Washington county is 0.59% of the property’s assessed value.
Arkansas is a conservative state when it comes to gun laws. Arkansas recently passed a constitutional carry law that allows anyone over 18 who is legally allowed to possess a firearm to carry a handgun in the state for self-defense. This can be either concealed or open carry, however, most self-defense trainers highly recommend concealed carry for self-defense.
The state also bans local governments from making laws restricting the right to carry a gun, so Fayetteville has no power to set its own laws on the subject.
Arkansas has no magazine capacity restrictions or restrictions on the type of firearm you can purchase. The state doesn’t have a special permit for purchasing a handgun or any form of a handgun registry.
The state also has fairly conservative self-defense laws. Arkansas just recently passed a “stand your ground” law in 2021. This means that if you are somewhere you are legally allowed to be, not engaged in criminal activity, and you are not the aggressor in a fight you do not have a duty to retreat. The law makes it so that you do not have to show a court that you exhausted your opportunity to retreat before defending yourself. Instead, the standard is that you reasonably thought your life or the life of another was in imminent danger of death or severe bodily harm.
Arkansas currently has a total ban on abortion. After the overturning of Roe v Wade on June 24, 2022, abortion became a state policy issue. Arkansas was one of the states that had a trigger law in place saying if Roe v Wade was ever overturned, the state would ban all abortions except in circumstances where the life of the mother was at severe risk.
The law currently restricts abortion providers saying that anyone who provides or attempts to provide an abortion in the state will be subject to up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
This is a very conservative position on the issue and one that is celebrated by anti-abortion activists.
What Parts of Fayetteville are More Conservative?
Fayetteville may be a more liberal city, but there are plenty of places you can live nearby that are full of conservatives. A lot of liberals in Fayetteville are associated with the local university in some way. Most of the liberal voters in Fayetteville live around the university and the city center.
Neighborhoods close to Fayetteville that are more conservative are Farmington, Appleby, and Johnson.
If you are looking for a place in Northwestern Arkansas and are willing to live a little further away from Fayetteville’s center, the cities of Springdale, Elm Springs, Rogers, and Bentonville are all conservative cities that are close to Fayetteville.
Springdale is nearly just to the north and is nearly the same population as Fayetteville. You can hardly tell where Fayetteville ends and Springdale begins.
Bentonville a little further to the north is also an extremely popular city for outdoorsy people. It has a higher median household income and is generally a very nice conservative town.