Bend Ranks Second in the Nation for People of a Certain Political Bent | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Bend Ranks Second in the Nation for People of a Certain Political Bent

Like attracts like, and political views are no exception. The Pacific coast has gained a reputation for liberalism (hence the double entendre of "The Left Coast") while the so-called Bible Belt is predictably populated with folks with more conservative views. But this political clustering is not limited to the far ends of the spectrum. According to, little ol' Bend is the second best place in the country for folks prefer the middle of the political road

“Research has shown that we increasingly live in areas with people who vote the same way we do,” says Matt Carmichael, editor of “A best place to live is about more than just politics, so we expanded our scope a little. We found cities where people not only are likely to vote together, but drive the cars, shop in the stores, watch the shows, and read the magazines that liberals, conservatives or centrists most love. Whatever your politics, you should be able to find a city on one of these lists where you’ll feel completely at home."

We're not surprised. We recently talked to people from both parties about Central Oregonians' centrist and party line-crossing tendencies. The only city better for political centrists, according to the survey, was Spokane Valley, Wash. The website, which explores livability issues in small to mid-size towns, looked at variety of measures of political affiliation:

Our editors, working with advisory board member Kevin Stolarick, Ph.D, (the founding research director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management) and using data from several geographies, gauged the ideological skew of the congressional representation of a city. They utilized nonpartisan watchdog GovTrack’s analysis of the members of the House of Representatives on a conservative/liberal spectrum. Then, using data from Esri, editors looked at how residents of each city self-report their own political leanings on a five-point scale from very liberal to very conservative. The last piece of the political puzzle was the splits in the vote during the 2012 presidential election.

If Bend is too conservative—or too liberal—for your liking, check out the best cities for liberals and conservatives, as well as other cities political moderates might feel at home in.

10 Best Cities for Liberals, 2014
1. Berkeley, CA
2. Hoboken, NJ
3. Somerville, MA
4. Boulder, CO
5. Evanston, IL
6. College Park, MD
7. Ann Arbor, MI
8. Mercer Island, WA
9. Alexandria, VA
10. Newport, RI

10 Best Cities for Conservatives, 2014
1. Alabaster, AL
2. Crestview, FL
3. Clinton, UT
4. Bristol, TN
5. Odessa, TX
6. Yukon, OK
7. Slidell, LA
8. Olive Branch, MS
9. Peachtree City, GA
10. Benton, AR

10 Best Cities for Centrists, 2014
1. Spokane Valley, WA
2. Bend, OR
3. Indio, CA
4. Gainesville, FL
5. Albany, GA
6. Boise, ID
7. Muncie, IN
8. Sparks, NV
9. Oregon, OH
10. Wildwood, MO

What's your take? Is Bend too liberal, too conservative, or just right?

Erin Rook

Erin was a writer and editor at the Source from 2013 to 2016.
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