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Claws

Is Nashville Liberal or Conservative?

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Recently I found out that Davidson County gave Kerry a 10% win over Bush in the 2004 Election and that Nashville's gay index is 125, 100 being the national average. These statistics point to Nashville as being a liberal city. I was just wondering what you guys thought. Do these numbers show how Nashville is, or do you feel it is different?

My take is that, although we are known for being a center of Protestantism, the entertainment industry and the many colleges and universities here have influenced the city. Plus, we are relatively large.

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Recently I found out that Davidson County gave Kerry a 10% win over Bush in the 2004 Election and that Nashville's gay index is 125, 100 being the national average. These statistics point to Nashville as being a liberal city. I was just wondering what you guys thought. Do these numbers show how Nashville is, or do you feel it is different?

My take is that, although we are known for being a center of Protestantism, the entertainment industry and the many colleges and universities here have influenced the city. Plus, we are relatively large.

Well, I'd say Nashville is about like most places its size in the South--solid enclaves of liberalism here and there, surrounded by relatively conservative suburbs.

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I think this a real interesting question. I just moved here a few months ago from orange county california which is one of the more conservative counties in the country. I also spent some time in san francisco which i think without question is one of the more liberal.

Since i moved i have really gotten the feel that Nashville is a fairly liberal city. People tend to identify with more liberal views for the most part. I mean, i think most big cities throughout the country are liberal (don't quote me on this, but i remember hearing a statistic that every US city with a population of over 400,000 voted for kerry). Although, i think you can really tell a liberal stance throughout the city. I guarantee it has to deal with the amount of universities in the city.

Obviously, its no new york or san francisco but from my short time here i can definitley feel a more liberal/democratic outlook to nashville

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Moderate-Liberal-Populist is how I view it. So whats that mean? Well the city is liberal on many things, but that is contained by moderate viewpoints. The city also tends to respond well to the popular sentiment of its citizens and reflect their views (which again tends to be moderate to liberal IMO, with a some significant social and fiscal conservative segments), which leads to a populist tag in the label I gave the city's political inclination.

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Liberal, Liberal, Liberal...did I say Liberal. But you must consider my viewpoint, I am as Conservative as the law allows. :)

Seriously Nashville is much more to the left of Knoxville where I moved from but in my building we have as many conservatives as liberals and we all agree that wine is the best salve when opinions are shared.

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Liberal, Liberal, Liberal...did I say Liberal. But you must consider my viewpoint, I am as Conservative as the law allows. :)

Seriously Nashville is much more to the left of Knoxville where I moved from but in my building we have as many conservatives as liberals and we all agree that wine is the best salve when opinions are shared.

My kind of neighbors.

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Whenever you have an urban core, it will swing liberal. The only major city that went in Bush's favor was Salt Lake City. I don't think there's a reason to explain why that's the case. Anyway, Nashville is slightly liberal in the city because it's that...a city. Liberals tend to be in urban areas rather than out in the farm shucking corn. But yeah...the 'burbs are definitely conservative.

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Whenever you have an urban core, it will swing liberal. The only major city that went in Bush's favor was Salt Lake City. I don't think there's a reason to explain why that's the case. Anyway, Nashville is slightly liberal in the city because it's that...a city. Liberals tend to be in urban areas rather than out in the farm shucking corn. But yeah...the 'burbs are definitely conservative.

Depends on what you mean by major city. Duval (Jacksonville) went Bush, as did San Diego and Tulsa & OKC were the same way, though the 'burbs probably had a hand in all but Jacksonville.

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Depends on what you mean by major city. Duval (Jacksonville) went Bush, as did San Diego and Tulsa & OKC were the same way, though the 'burbs probably had a hand in all but Jacksonville.

I don't know if I'm being snotty or what, but I only consider San Diego and Jacksonville to be major cities from that list. And if you look at the county where San Diego is, it is large to where it stretches to inland California. Inland California has a LARGE conservative base, which easily explains how the county went Bush. I didn't know about Jacksonville, so thanks for the info. Though, why wouldn't you say the suburbs had a hand in Duval going Bush?

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I think this a real interesting question. I just moved here a few months ago from orange county california which is one of the more conservative counties in the country. I also spent some time in san francisco which i think without question is one of the more liberal.

Since i moved i have really gotten the feel that Nashville is a fairly liberal city. People tend to identify with more liberal views for the most part. I mean, i think most big cities throughout the country are liberal (don't quote me on this, but i remember hearing a statistic that every US city with a population of over 400,000 voted for kerry). Although, i think you can really tell a liberal stance throughout the city. I guarantee it has to deal with the amount of universities in the city.

Obviously, its no new york or san francisco but from my short time here i can definitley feel a more liberal/democratic outlook to nashville

That's the way I've always felt about it. Thanks for all of the participation, everyone.

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I don't know if I'm being snotty or what, but I only consider San Diego and Jacksonville to be major cities from that list. And if you look at the county where San Diego is, it is large to where it stretches to inland California. Inland California has a LARGE conservative base, which easily explains how the county went Bush. I didn't know about Jacksonville, so thanks for the info. Though, why wouldn't you say the suburbs had a hand in Duval going Bush?

Because Jacksonville and Duval are one and the same (they are one of those city-county mergers like Nashville-Davidson), thus there are no other towns in Duval county except for a few coastal towns (4, I think) who resisted the merger, but they are small enough in population that they wouldn't usually have significant enough of a vote to sway the county.

As for San Diego, it's more of a military town, so that may have played a role.

Houston and Dallas (their counties, that is) went red, also, but the cities themselves are quite liberal, I hear.

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Whenever you have an urban core, it will swing liberal. The only major city that went in Bush's favor was Salt Lake City. I don't think there's a reason to explain why that's the case. Anyway, Nashville is slightly liberal in the city because it's that...a city. Liberals tend to be in urban areas rather than out in the farm shucking corn. But yeah...the 'burbs are definitely conservative.

Funny thing is, I live in Austin MN--a town of about 20,000--in southern Minnesota and work in north Iowa, basically in a rural area of small towns and farmers. It's a real Norman Rockwell kind of place that's heavily democratic. Also, some of the heaviest Kerry counties in the South were in rural areas as well.

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^ Yep. The counties with the largest urban centers and really rural counties went heavily for Kerry in Tennesse for example. Places like Lake, Haywood, Houston, Stewart, Humphreys, etc.

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Funny thing is, I live in Austin MN--a town of about 20,000--in southern Minnesota and work in north Iowa, basically in a rural area of small towns and farmers. It's a real Norman Rockwell kind of place that's heavily democratic. Also, some of the heaviest Kerry counties in the South were in rural areas as well.

But you also have to look at the income levels of some of these counties. Many Delta counties in Mississippi went for Kerry because they are some of the poorest counties in the nation.

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^ Yep. The counties with the largest urban centers and really rural counties went heavily for Kerry in Tennesse for example. Places like Lake, Haywood, Houston, Stewart, Humphreys, etc.

I wouldn't cite them as being too terribly "heavy" for Kerry (at least in raw numbers, perhaps percentage-wise in some instances), whereas they were clearly much heavily for Gore in 2000. Stewart went for Kerry by exactly 5 votes (!) after Gore won by over 1,000+. Besides looking at the racial makeup of some of those counties, many rural counties in West TN still have a legacy of voting Democrat since the Civil War (which has little to do with specific liberal ideology - I doubt some of your rural farmers in those counties can relate to the uber-rich Kerry - but still they vote Dem because they'd be tarred and feathered by their dead grandpappys for daring to vote for the party of Lincoln & Sherman). Despite that, all 5 of those counties you cited all have moved dramatically in the direction of the Republicans (in their Presidential voting, at least) between 2000-2004.

The counties you cited:

Lake - 2004 (D) 2634 2078 56D%-44R%

- 2000 (D) 1419 781 64D%-35R%

Haywood - 2004 (D) 4359 3140 58D%-42R%

- 2000 (D) 3887 2554 60D%-39R%

Houston - 2004 (D) 2126 1440 60D%-40R%

- 2000 (D) 2081 993 67D%-32R%

Stewart - 2004 (D) 2680 2675 50D%-50R%

- 2000 (D) 2870 1826 60D%-38R%

Humphreys - 2004 (D) 4485 3261 58D-42R%

- 2000 (D) 4205 2387 63D%-36R%

Stewart, for example, is already becoming a suburb of Clarksville-Montgomery and what was fairly safe for Democrats will clearly be, and now likely is, Republican for the future. Haywood, on the other hand, barring a movement of Black voters away from the Dems, is still safe for them (despite slight movement towards the R's). However, it, too will become like Stewart as the Memphis suburbs spread out, and will become Republican within the next 20 years.

As for the 4 most populous counties, that being Shelby-Memphis, Davidson-Nashville, Knox-Knoxville & Hamilton-Chattanooga, here were the breakdowns:

Shelby - 2004 (D) 216945 158137 58D%-42R%

- 2000 (D) 190404 141756 57D%-42R%

Davidson - 2004 (D) 132737 107839 55D%-45R%

- 2000 (D) 120508 84117 58D%-40R%

Knox - 2004 (D) 66013 110803 37D%-63R%

- 2000 (D) 60969 86851 41D%-58R%

Hamilton - 2004 (D) 57302 78547 42D%-58R%

- 2000 (D) 51708 66605 43D%-55R%

What is notable is that Shelby was the odd duck in Tennessee, it actually slightly increasing its preference for Kerry over Gore from 2000 to '04 (many theories abound for that, but some are speculative and/or prevocative). Though it had a most peculiar oddity in the '80s when it actually went for Mondale over Reagan in '84 by 4,000 votes, yet turned around and went for GHW Bush by 4,000 votes in '88 (the last time it went GOP, same as Davidson), despite Bush not nearly getting Reagan's landslide numbers.

Davidson moved more to the R's, but not quite enough to bring it back to how it voted in the '80s (when it went for Reagan and GHW Bush in '84 and '88), more or less because a lot of the R voters have scooched across the county lines in all directions.

Knox was clearly the most reviled by the D's and Kerry, giving almost a whopping 2-to-1 margin for Dubya and a 10% increase in the point spread.

Hamilton's was not a particularly noteworthy increase above 2000 (practically status quo percent for the D's, though the GOP % went up).

Anyway, that's my take on it by the numbers (I hope my little post didn't put people to sleep). :D

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Thanks for the numbers.

My only quibble would be the comparisons between 2000 and 2004. Al Gore was a native Tennesseean, and got support in those counties just on that fact alone. So, I wouldn't necessarily say the dropoff in democratic support in 2004 can be viewed as a trend.

But you also have to look at the income levels of some of these counties. Many Delta counties in Mississippi went for Kerry because they are some of the poorest counties in the nation.

Of course, then you get into the definition of what constitutes liberal.

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The Most Conservative part of Nashville is Belle Meade By far. Did yall read the paper during the election last year commparing two regions of Nashville which way they voted?

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What's the most liberal part of Nashville?

Also, a new question: which city is more liberal--Nashville or Memphis?

Facts:

Memphis--gave Kerry 16% win over W.

Nashville--gave Kerry 10% win over W.

Memphis--gay index of 105.

Nashville--gay index of 125.

I know these two factors alone don't determine how liberal a city really is, but they are the most indicative cold, hard facts we can use, in my opinion.

And, no, AceMentor, I didn't see that article in the paper last year. Sounds interesting, though.

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Using the results of one election is really a bad indicator on how liberal or conservative a state or area might be. First you have to take the leap of faith that liberals vote for Democratics and conservatives vote for Republicans. While that might seem to be an easy enough jump, keep in mind that in this last election the two biggest items on why people voted were dealing with terrorists, and dealing with the economy. Neither is a province of being liberal or conservative as everyone will agree that terrorists should be eliminated, and something should be done to improve the economy.

(This is forgetting the set number of people in each party's base that will vote for "their party" no matter who runs)

Where the differences between the two parties comes from is in how they deliver the message they will do a bettter job and how bad they paste the other side as being a worthless. Kerry clearly failed on both of these efforts and did not connect with a majority of the people. Even Jimmy Carter said that this week he felt that Kerry was simply out of touch with the majority of the USA. I am thoroughly convinced that a candidate from the northeast ivory tower elite cannot win a national election in the USA. Remember the last president from this camp was 45 years ago.

Case in point, GW Bush was an unknown in 2000 and lost the popular vote to Al Gore. He would have also lost the election in my opinion except the supreme ct got involved and stopped the recount in Florida. On the other hand, in 2004 you have a President who is clearly a failure at everything that he said he would do for the country, but he still won the not only the election but the popular vote too because on the two items I mentioned above, he did a better job at connecting with the swing vote. Given his continued failures this year he might have very well lost the election if it where held this month, but Kerry was a really bad candidate.

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What's the most liberal part of Nashville?

Also, a new question: which city is more liberal--Nashville or Memphis?

Facts:

Memphis--gave Kerry 16% win over W.

Nashville--gave Kerry 10% win over W.

Memphis--gay index of 105.

Nashville--gay index of 125.

I know these two factors alone don't determine how liberal a city really is, but they are the most indicative cold, hard facts we can use, in my opinion.

And, no, AceMentor, I didn't see that article in the paper last year. Sounds interesting, though.

Ah, who knows.

Once again, how do you define liberalism--economic, social, etc., etc.

By one definition, there were only 3 state senators who voted against the amendment banning gay marriage. One was from Nashville (don't recall his name). The other two were from Memphis, Steve Cohen and John Ford.

There is a website from some lesbian group called Tennessee Guerilla Women which picked this state legislator from Memphis--Beverly Marrero--as the most "progressive":

rep.%20beverly%20marrero.jpg

I like her hat.

I don't think either Nashville or Memphis is more liberal or not than the other. They're about the same as similar sized cities across the South. Memphis may have 1 or 2 more liberal legislators solely because it has an innercity larger than Nashville. But both towns are surrounded by very conservative suburbs for the most part. Marsha Blackburn carved out a nice little district stretching from Brentwood to Germantown.

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I am thoroughly convinced that a candidate from the northeast ivory tower elite cannot win a national election in the USA. Remember the last president from this camp was 45 years ago.

Amen. I really don't understand how the democrats didn't get this. If you really think about it, every single president since Jimmy carter (aside from ronald reagan) has been from the south. The reason being that the south will vote either way. I really think that Bill Clinton won because he won the south, and al gore as well as john kerry lost because they couldn't win the south. The south has a history of voting democrat but i can guarantee that very few southerners to this day will trust a new england multi-millionaire to be their leader. Its just not gonna happen.

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@fieldmarshaldj - Thanks for providing the numbers and a very good political analysis (it certianly didn't bore me!).

I would still say all those counties, except for Stewart are heavy Dem (which I had forgotten about being so close), even if their rural more conservative Dems. Anything over 5% is usually considered a good margin.

Most of those Tennessee river counties retain strong rural Dem bases that are weathered the tide so far when it comes to how they vote in national elections. Many of the less rural-agricultural dependent counties in Middle and West TN are getting pretty competative though, and when the old guard Dems leave on the state level those areas will be much more competative then they have been in the past.

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Amen. I really don't understand how the democrats didn't get this. If you really think about it, every single president since Jimmy carter (aside from ronald reagan) has been from the south. The reason being that the south will vote either way. I really think that Bill Clinton won because he won the south, and al gore as well as john kerry lost because they couldn't win the south. The south has a history of voting democrat but i can guarantee that very few southerners to this day will trust a new england multi-millionaire to be their leader. Its just not gonna happen.

Yet much of the South voted for the first George Bush who happened to be a "new england multi-millionaire".

And even in the past election of 2004, it was a lot more than just a "very few southerners" who voted for Kerry. In every southern state except Alabama, Kerry drew 40% or more of the vote. In TN, he got 43%. While not enough to get elected, that's more than just a very few.

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Thanks for the numbers.

My only quibble would be the comparisons between 2000 and 2004. Al Gore was a native Tennesseean, and got support in those counties just on that fact alone. So, I wouldn't necessarily say the dropoff in democratic support in 2004 can be viewed as a trend.

You're right that you shouldn't just contrast that for 2 elections, but should take a longer-term view. Gore's performance, however, was one of the most highly unusual situations in Presidential election history in which he was one of only a few candidates thoroughly repudiated by his own bailiwick. I was not terribly surprised by it, since while he may have been a plus to helping Clinton carry TN in '92 (although still only managing a paltry 47%), his presence in '96 did little at all (in fact, a shift of only 23,000 votes would've meant Dole carrying TN, as he received 46% to the 48% Clinton-Gore ticket). Then, of course, I never really considered Gore to be "native", anyhow. He did carry his birthplace of DC. ;-)

Tennessee tended to be unusual for a southern state, as it always had a level of Republican presence (East TN, with some scatterings along the TN River in West), and was the first Southern state to have a Republican Speaker of the House in 1969 (in the wake of the Baker v. Carr decision, which forced the Dems to redraw 60+ year-old legislative lines). The Republicans have, for the past decade, had a voting majority for not only the legislature, but also for Congress. BUT, because Democrats have been in control of redistricting since after the historic 1969-70 session, they have gerrymandered the lines to ensure they retain control (the past elections being very odious and undemocratic - close to 55% of Tennesseans prefer Republicans in the House, but were only getting at or around 45% of the seats). Looking at the legislative lines on a map until the last few elections, you'd have thought this were still post-Reconstruction. Heavily GOP Eastern districts and practically nothing (aside from clustered suburban areas) beyond the Cumberland plateau (and only in the last 2 elections has that been broken, with the GOP finally winning in areas they haven't been allowed to win in 130 years).

Despite attempts for the past 4 decades to stymie growth of the GOP in TN, it is likely they will rightfully win control of both houses of the legislature and many of the old rural areas still leaning Dem will be significantly changed within the next decade (a la Virginia/Texas).

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