For a lot of people, knowing the politics of a particular city is important when it comes to deciding whether to move there. This is especially true of cities like Omaha, which are politically complicated.
Omaha is much more liberal than the rest of Nebraska, but compared to the coast, it is a fairly conservative city. While most of its offices are nonpartisan officially, its current mayor is a member of the Republican party that has been in office since 2013.
But what about Omaha’s policies? Those are usually much better ways to tell a city’s political leanings than the political party of its mayor.
Does Omaha Have Liberal Policies
Omaha’s policies aren’t particularly less liberal than the policies that are to be found state-wide. This is to say that abortion is only legal up to the 20th week after fertilization, there are no special policies targeting LGBTQ+ people, and discussions over literature in Omaha public schools have not yet talked about banning books.
This is just about the baseline, considering that Omaha can’t exactly overturn restrictive laws laid out by the state government. However, the city doesn’t make any particular effort to include people either, and if you’re worried about being in a state run by conservatives, Omaha will not feel much different policywise than the rest of the state.
For conservatives, this makes Omaha an ideal city. There aren’t a lot of big cities where a Republican could be elected mayor, and Omaha is one of those cities. The only policies that Omaha conservatives are likely to find objectionable are the cities near two percent property tax, although the city’s low income and sales taxes go a long way towards making this feel a lot better.
What Do Omahans Believe Politically?
The question of whether Omaha has liberal people or not is a fairly complicated one. It will need to be broken down into people from the 68118 ZIP code of Omaha and people from the 68111 ZIP code of the city. This is because different parts of the city have slightly different demographics, causing a political divide.
This part of Omaha leans conservative in a pretty significant way. In this part of the city, people are unlikely to believe in climate change or gun control and are more likely to protest taxation even if it means cutting down on public services. That being said, whether people support abortion is a coin toss.
This ZIP code is in the western part of the city, near Skyline.
This ZIP code by contrast leans decidedly liberal, with a majority of people believing abortion should be legal, gun control should be instituted, and raising taxes is better than cutting off public services. However, belief in climate change is at a little less than fifty percent.
This ZIP code is in the eastern part of the city, near Council Bluffs.
There are many more than just these two ZIP codes in Omaha, and considering how close the politics are in these two zip codes, the others are likely similarly contested. It seems like Omaha is a profoundly centrist city in many ways.
How Does Omaha Vote?
A quirk in Nebraska’s laws means that the city of Omaha is often able to give its electoral votes to a different candidate than the rest of the state. This has led to a lot of interesting situations where the usually conservative city has voted blue presidentially, most notably in 2008 when they voted for Obama, and in 2020 when they voted for Biden.
But even when it comes to the presidency, their voting record is unusually mixed. While Nebraska isn’t really a swing state, the votes housed in Omaha specifically are less predictable. That being said, while Omaha has the potential to swing blue every four years or so, it usually doesn’t, as only twice has the district that Omaha is a part of delivered its single electoral vote differently than its solidly red state.
As for the Nebraska 2nd congressional district, which Omaha dominates, it has consistently been held by a Republican for over three decades, having elected its most recent Republican representative in 2017. This is the same for the city’s representing senator, who has been Republican for a very long time.
So, alongside the city’s longtime Republican mayor, it seems that the vast majority of the time when given the choice the city of Omaha votes Republican and not Democrat.
On a local level, Nebraska has a Unicameral legislature, meaning that its senate is the state’s only legislative body. Omaha consistently sends several democrats to the state senate every two years, but still consistently sends a few Republicans as well. This is again evidence that while Omaha is less conservative than the rest of the state, it is still not a very liberal city.
Is Omaha a Liberal City?
While the city’s denser areas are in fact fairly liberal, the city is as a whole consistently conservative in most ways. This is reflective of the city’s location, as it’s surrounded by the conservative bastion of Nebraska.
This also follows trends of larger cities being more liberal than the surrounding area, although it is still not exactly a city where Democrats are often going to get their way.
It does, however, largely buck the trend of large cities always voting liberal. Nebraska’s unique apportioning of electoral votes based on districts shows that even when places like Omaha get to vote separately from the rest of their state, they still often choose to vote conservative.
As for whether this makes Omaha a better or worse place to live, that’s a matter of personal preference.
Is Omaha a Good Place For Liberals to Live?
If you’re willing to put up with not really being represented on a State or local level, then Omaha is a fine place for liberals to live. There are plenty of places within Douglas County where anyone can go to find people who agree with them. Omaha is a very politically diverse city, which means that if the thing that you’re most worried about is the community, you should be fine.
However, Omaha is not a city where Democrats hold a strong position of power as of right now. This means that liberals who move here will likely find the city’s policy’s becoming consistently more conservative over time, as with the policies held by the state surrounding itself.
This means that if the reason you want to live in a liberal city is so that you can be in a place where policy will be progressive, then Omaha is not the kind of place you will enjoy living. It’s a toss-up as to whether you’ll even be able to elect a democratic state senator, and the mayor is unlikely to be a Democrat any time soon.
But the biggest problem with Omaha is that it’s the most liberal place in a very large area, meaning that if you want to go somewhere more accepting it might be several hours away. Moving to Omaha is a commitment to spending most of your time in Omaha, so you’d better be ready to stay there.
However, its political diversity makes it a place where it’s easy to get to know people who disagree with you. This means that there is a great opportunity within the city for vibrant political discussions. While it’s unlikely that a few new liberal voters in town will change up the voting dynamics in the city, if you’re willing to learn, you may be able to come to a better understanding of your liberal neighbors.
Of course, if you can get past all that, you’ll find that Omaha is a fine place to live. Or it will be when they finally decide to start fixing potholes.
Is Omaha a Good Place For Conservatives to Live?
If you can get past the potholes and the property taxes, Omaha is probably one of the best places in the country for conservatives who want to have a sense of political power and want to experience city life. Omaha is one of only about a third of America’s one hundred biggest cities to have a Republican mayor, which should feel good to conservatives that are moving in.
While the stronger conservative pockets are in the city’s suburbs, the city proper also has a significant conservative population. For conservatives looking for a sense of political belonging within the city, this is great news. It means that inside the city it should be easy to make friends who share your beliefs on a fundamental level.
The city’s political diversity will also give you an opportunity to get to know liberals better through discussion. Meeting people who disagree with you in person can be a great experience if you’re willing to listen to them and learn why they disagree with you. No matter who you are, there’s always room to become more politically understanding!
Whatever your political leanings, Omaha is the kind of city where you can find a place to belong.
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