Is Winston-Salem, North Carolina a Liberal City?

Sometimes it is important to consider the political beliefs of a city before you move there. Here is a brief breakdown of the political belief of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina tends to swing more liberal. However, the city is a fairly good mix of republicans and democrats, and both conservatives and liberals can be found within the city limits. This is one of the reasons why North Carolina is a perennial swing state.

With North Carolina becoming a perennial swing state, here is a breakdown of one of the largest cities in the state, Winston-Salem, and why it is considered liberal.

Winston-Salem’s General Political Affiliation

Winston-Salem is more democratic than republican, but only by a mere 13.9%Opens in a new tab.. That means that most of the city is split pretty evenly. As you get into more of the city area, it gets more democratic and as you get farther into the rural parts of Winston-Salem, it becomes more republican.

However, this shift to Winston-SalemOpens in a new tab. being more democratic is fairly recent. In the last 2020 election, North Carolina was dubbed a swing stateOpens in a new tab., meaning it could go either way and the vote was far too close for experts to be able to anticipate for certain which way North Carolina was going to fall.

Winston-Salem’s History of Voting

Over the past four years, Winston-Salem has slowly become more democratic. However, the surrounding county’s shift from republican to democratic started around 2006. Since then, Winston-Salem swings back and forth between being slightly more democratic and slightly more republican.

With the city being a fairly even split, you meet people with both political alliances. This makes it hard to truly be able to predict how Winston-Salem will vote in nearly every election, especially when where you live determines which political party is more prevalent.

In the inner city of Winston-Salem, the most common political party that is represented is the democratic party. This makes the inner city of Winston-Salem feel a lot more progressive in its acceptance of everyone. Because of the nature of acceptance in the inner city, you end up seeing a lot more LGBTQ+ representation, untraditional households, untraditional beliefs and standards, and a greater diversity of people. This can be a perk to some and a drawback to others.

As you get into the more rural areas of Winston-Salem, the most common political party represented is the republican party. This makes the rural places feel more traditional in values, standards, and speech. This tends to lend itself towards a lesser acceptance of all with the more prominent ideas of tradition. Again, this is a perk for some and a drawback for others.

Because most of the population of Winston-Salem resides in the inner city, Winston-Salem tends to lean more liberal despite both political parties having a solid amount of representation throughout the city. Due to this solid representation, the vote is still extremely close despite Winston-Salem leaning more liberal over the past few years. North Carolina is a swing state and because Winston-Salem is in the top 5 cities in population, it aids in making North Carolina a swing state.

Liberal Vs. Conservative Beliefs

At its core, liberalismOpens in a new tab. is the belief that the government is needed and necessary in order to protect the people. The government should be responsible for caring for the people, providing equality, and protecting rights. It mostly emphasizes the need for government to control and therefore give freedom to the people.

Conservatives generally believe in personal responsibility, free market, limited government, individual liberty, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. The government is there to provide freedom for people to be able to achieve their own goals. It’s mostly about the individual.

What that means in today’s world can be summed up in the following controversial topicsOpens in a new tab.. Keep in mind that these are the extremes to give you a feel for the difference. Most people fall somewhere in the middle.

Death Penalty

In Winston-Salem, North Carolina there are some things that are punishable by death, but those acts are ones that produce death. So, people who murder another person are able to be ordered to the death penalty by the court. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

It does sound strange that this is still in effect today, but the last time someone was executed was in 2006, so it is not often used. That person was Samuel Flippen, and he murdered his 2-year-old stepdaughter. So, it is easy to see the correlation between the act and what the punishment was. You may or may not agree with this policy, but this is one thing that sets this state apart from others. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)


In 2022, news of the overturn of Roe V Wade was huge, and many people still want to know what that means in their city and their state. Well, the laws surrounding abortions are now up to each state to decide, so you are going to see some conservative-leaning states abolishing it, and other more liberal states making laws that keep it legal.

In North Carolina, abortions are still legal, but there are a lot of rules and regulations that must be followed before the procedure happens. So with this state and city having a mix of conservative and liberal beliefs, makes sense. Before an abortion can occur there must be counseling provided for the person and they then will have to wait 72 hours after the counseling and before the abortion.

The counseling is to help inform the patient of all the types of abortions, what they do, how they do it, and more so that they know exactly what they are walking into. The counseling will also help those who perhaps are being forced into an abortion to have a voice and they will have help deciding if they want the abortion, or if someone else wants it. Then, the counselor can help that person know what options they have to choose from.

All minors must have parents know and sign approval for the abortion as well, and there are other regulations in place to help people really understand their decision and help them make the best choice. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Health Care

There are health care portions in Winston-Salem, but overall the state of North Carolina is not ranked high. It is expensive, but you can try to get Medicare for much cheaper/free rates. When you are shopping around for health care, ask friends and family what they use and what they like, and then get free quotes from every place that offers health care.

Compare and contrast these deals for the one that best fits your needs. It may be priced in North Carolina, but if your work contributes to your health care then it can be much more affordable. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Gun Control

Gun control in North Carolina is partly strong and partly weak. There are background checks checking for criminal records, and they check for people with domestic violence backgrounds or restraining orders. There are things that keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but there are groups of people who think the laws could be stricter. What do you think? (SourceOpens in a new tab.)


North Carolina is home to many immigrants, and it is big on supporting those individuals. The immigrants are very entrepreneur mind-setted and add a lot of money to the state’s economy. There are laws to keep unlawful immigrants out and to allow others to stay, but it is overall friendly towards immigration. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)


Taxes in Winston-Salem are pretty good. Not too high, but they are not super low either. In 2022, the tax rate for individual income is 4.99%, and in other states, the tax is much higher. So in thinking about how the area is left-leaning but is a swing state that can go for either side of the political spectrum, this tax rate makes sense.

This state is full of everyone having many views on different topics, so these policies they have in place reflect that. They clearly try to keep a happy medium that has things both sides can somewhat agree on. (SourceOpens in a new tab.)

Effects of Liberal Beliefs on Winston-Salem

Typically, liberal beliefs have similar effects on cities and thus Winston-Salem is not much different. Cities that are more liberal tend to be more open and accepting of all no matter sexual orientation, identification, and marital status.

The government has a bit more of an influence on people’s lives whether that be in small ways like more road work for better transportation or welfare or something a bit more significant like gun control and abortion laws. There may even be slightly higher taxes. Basically, liberal beliefs are going to be more prominent in practice than conservative ones.

Overall, due to Winston-Salem being a pretty even split between democrats and republicans, the slightly more liberal effect is not nearly as significant as other big cities. It is there and it is growing, but it is not as extreme as other places. In some places within Winston-Salem, it may not even be noticeable due to the population in that area of the city being more republican.

Related Topics:

If you like the article above, here are some other similar articles you should check out!

13 Best Family Neighborhoods in Winston-Salem, North Carolina Opens in a new tab.

17 Reasons Not to Move to Winston-Salem, North CarolinaOpens in a new tab.

Why North Carolina Homes Don’t Have Basements

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.

Recent Posts