Is San Francisco, California a Conservative City?

Though San Francisco began as a conservative city, history shows that the city has come a long way since then, primarily moving to the left. Over the years, the population has increased in both numbers and in liberalism to become what it is today.

San Francisco, California is not a conservative city. In fact, San Francisco promotes liberal views in many areas such as elected government officials, LGBTQ+ support, voting statistics, pro-choice abortion efforts, and financial contributions to Democratic party campaigns.

Liberalism is shown in San Francisco through a variety of practices and efforts. The city has a small conservative population, making the majority of laws and actions passed, legalized, and supported in favor of liberalistic ideals.

Abortion Laws

The majority of Californians fight for women’s rights to receive legal abortions. The California state constitution and state statute protect legal rights to abortions within California’s state boundaries. A recent bill was signed authorizing all abortion-related services in the state to be performed free of cost. California supports legal abortions and works to keep the procedures easily available and affordable to all who seek them. Thus, making themselves either a loveable or deeply hated state.

In June of 2022, the US Supreme Court announced that the Roe v. Wade trial of 1973 is now overturned after more than 50 years of protecting legal rights to abortions anywhere on United States soil. But, with the news of overturning this, now the decision of whether or not abortion is legal or illegal is up to each state to decide. The Supreme Court decided that it was not in its power to say what all the states should follow. They decided that because it is so controversial and different states feel very different on the subject, they would give the power to the states.

After years of legal protection, pro-abortionists are outraged at the announcement, while pro-lifers were thrilled and celebrated. Coordinated protests have been held in cities throughout the nation and drawing hundreds of supporters to some of these rallies. The San Francisco Bay area has hosted an incredible number of these pro-abortionist rallies in recent months. Which is one example of this area being liberal along with other policies that will be discussed below.

Hundreds of protestors gathered on San Francisco’s Embarcadero on July 4th of 2022. While the rest of the nation dressed in red, white, and blue to celebrate America’s independence, these Bay Area residents gathered wearing green in support of abortion rights. They held posters and signs advocating legal abortion rights.

One San Francisco physician even plans to branch out and help women receive abortions in states that are likely to ban the practice. Doctor Meg AutryOpens in a new tab. is the vice chair of medical education for the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UCSF. 

She plans on beginning what she refers to as PROWESS (Protecting Reproductive Rights of Women Endangered by State Statutes). This will be an off-shore clinic vessel that will be floating in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, strategically located near states where abortions are not legally available.

Groups and individuals within the city demonstrate strongly liberal views on the subject of legal abortion rights. But, being a Californian city, is not uncommon since the general population votes blue in most counties every presidential election.

Religious Community

Strongly religious communities generally have conservative majorities in terms of political views. A reported 36% of the San Francisco Bay AreaOpens in a new tab. define themselves as religious. The most highly present religions include Catholic, Methodist, and Baptist members. Significantly less than half of the city is religious, a sign of a liberal majority rather than conservative views among residents in the area.

Now, your religion does not inform others what your political views are. But, they are related. Your own morals, your sense of judgment, and other things that you learn from your religion can influence what you agree and disagree with politically. For instance, people who find themselves to be more religious might also find themselves disagreeing with abortion, and people who believe in science and facts might find themselves okay with abortion.

This is a general statement that may not be true for everyone, but you can see from that example how the religious population might influence politics in San Francisco. So when you see that about 36% of the area is religious, you can also see why the majority of the people there also agree and support abortion as discussed above.

Elected Government Officials

The government officials elected to represent San Francisco are highly Democratic and liberal in their political views, showing that the majority of San Francisco residents share these same values. London Breed is currently serving as mayor in the city of San Francisco. Mayor Breed is affiliated with the Democratic party, meaning that she is a supporter of liberal views.

Mayor Breed implemented significant outreach programs for the city specifically focused on helping the homelessOpens in a new tab. and addictedOpens in a new tab. in the city find housing and treatment. She announced the plan to build 1,000 shelter beds and then quickly implemented legislation necessary to expedite the construction of such shelters. This was done by declaring a shelter crisis, allowing emergency action to bypass normal zoning, permitting, and contracting requirements for homeless services.

Along with this plan, she is heavily expanding available beds for those who struggle with mental health and substance abuse recovery. While Mayor Breed had many other goals, often these goals were to strengthen social programs and pump funds into said programs. Often social programs are supported by liberal candidates and these programs are no exception.

Conservative candidates often make an effort to help local charities already in place rather than implement new government programs or repurpose current government resources. So, Mayor Breed’s implementation of funding into housing, transportation, infrastructure, response to COVID-19, drug take-back programs, and city utilities shows the strong liberal support she received from the citizens and city officials.

One of these programs implemented was quickly dubbed the “Poop Patrol”. Because of the overwhelming number of homeless individuals, thousands of requests poured into the city for steam cleaning due to fecal matter on city sidewalks. In fact, in 2017 the city received 16,743 requestsOpens in a new tab. for fecal matter removal and steam cleaning of the stains.

Voting Statistics

In the most recent Presidential election of 2020, only 12.7% of votes Opens in a new tab.were cast in favor of the Republican party candidate, who supports conservative views. A formidable 85.3% of voters in San Francisco supported the Democratic party candidate, and the remaining 2% voted independent. San Francisco county has voted with the Democratic party in every election since the year 2000.

While 12.7% may appear to be a significant portion of the city, being 111,097 people of the 874,784 total population, the voter distribution of San Francisco is wildly different from the general US population. In the 2020 electionOpens in a new tab., Joe Biden received 51.3% of the popular vote while Donald Trump received 46.9% of the popular vote. If San Francisco had voted similarly, the city would have seen 410,273 Republican Votes.

While every election is different, a majority of 85.3% is a significant margin representing a firmly seated liberal opinion among the general population of San Francisco. In fact, in the 2016 Presidential ElectionOpens in a new tab., San Francisco County was the most liberally voting county in California.

Financial Contributions to Political Campaigns

Based on everything you’ve read above, this next section is bound to discuss how the Democrat campaigns and politicians get more money in donations than Republican candidates. But, why does that mean anything? Well, it makes sense that the city that continues to vote for liberal mayors and other elected officials will also have donations to support those efforts.

But, wouldn’t it be odd if the Republicans in the area out-donated the Democrats? It would mean that the area is more diverse politically than we thought, even with strong voting history. So, let’s look at the statistics and see if the numbers are higher with Democrats, or if the area is not what we expected.

The support of liberal views through political parties extends further than San Francisco’s voting statistics. From 2018-2021, Democratic and liberal campaigns received a total of $244,561,810 in financial donations.Opens in a new tab. There were a total of 296,977 contributions made and an average of $824 per contribution in this time frame.

Conservative and Republican party campaigns have not been as fortunate or supported in San Francisco county as their liberal opponents. There were only 12,159 contributions made to these campaigns in the same four-year period, and they received a total of $28,445,956 in contributions. The average amount of money given per donation was $2,340 for conservative and Republican party campaigns.

So, the San Francisco area is strongly liberal in many aspects, and the supporters who donate to various political campaigns show more support overall for Democrats. If another outcome was found then our conclusion would have to change to show that there are more people than we thought who agree with other politics, but that is not the case.

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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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