Political Notebook

Study: Fresno in political center, but conservative compared to other cities

Democrats in Fresno outnumber rival Republicans by more than 20,000 registered voters, but California’s fifth-largest city still can’t shake the perception that it’s a conservative bastion.

Now there’s a study, which appears this month in the American Political Science Review. Its conclusion? Fresno, is pretty much middle of the road — at least relatively speaking.

When stacked up against 67 other large American cities, it looks pretty conservative. There are only a dozen cities considered more conservative in the study. In California, Fresno is second only to Anaheim in Orange County as most conservative.

That said, the study shows that nationwide, liberal big cities are far more common than conservative big cities. And the most liberal cities are far more liberal than the most conservative cities are conservative.

Even Houston and Dallas in conservative Texas are considered more liberal than Fresno.

According to the Pew Research Center, researchers from MIT and UCLA pooled data from seven large-scale opinion surveys, conducted between 2000 and 2011, to develop measures of public policy preference in 51 cities with populations of more than 250,000.

There’s a chart with the study that has zero at the middle, -1 being the most liberal and +1 the most conservative. On that chart, Fresno — along with Fort Worth, TX — is at zero.

Mesa, AZ is the most conservative, with a ranking of +0.42, meaning it is not that conservative. There are only 11 cities total on the conservative side of zero. There are 54 cities on the liberal side of zero.

The most liberal city in the study is — surprise — San Francisco. It is all the way over at -1 in the chart.