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Study: Jacksonville Ranks Fifth Most Conservative Among US Cities

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Jacksonville is the fifth most politically conservative city in the U.S. That’s according to new research published in the American Political Science Review.

Researchers used data from close to 2,000 towns and cities to determine the country’s liberal and conservative hotspots.

Researchers from UCLA and MIT surveyed people in cities with at least 250,000 residents to come up with what they call an “ideological score.”

They asked their opinions on everything from health care to social issues. Most of the findings were unsurprising — denser metropolitan areas tended to lean more liberal, while smaller, more rural places were more conservative.

What surprised researchers was how much ideology seems to affect decisions at the city-government level — conservative areas tend to have lower local taxes and fewer protections for minorities, for example. That goes against the traditional narrative that local decisions are generally less politicized than federal ones, but the study’s authors say the impact of voter ideology on local governance is “quite large.”

Jacksonville is the fifth most conservative American city, behind No. 1: Mesa, Arizona, and three others. The country’s most liberal city is San Francisco. 

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.