Texas Politics

New study finds most big cities in Texas lean liberal

New study finds most big cities in Texas lean liberal

Texas State Capitol in Austin at dusk
A new study shows that Austin is the most liberal city in Texas, but Dallas and Houston aren't far behind. Photo by Stuart Seeger/Wikipedia

Thanks in large part to former President George W. Bush and the high profile of Gov. Rick Perry, Texas is generally viewed as overwhelmingly conservative. But a new study profiled by The Economist shows that when it comes to big cities, Texas can lean liberal.

The study, created by Chris Warshaw of MIT and Chris Tausanovitch from UCLA, takes into account seven different surveys to try and determine if big cities are responsive when it comes to the views of their citizens. According to the findings, cities do tend to mirror their constituents' views, meaning big cities have more liberal legislation. 

 Dallas and Houston were the next most-liberal locales behind Austin. The only big city considered conservative was Arlington. 

Of the 67 cities listed on the national chart, seven of the eight Texas cities rated as either split on the conservative/liberal spectrum or on the liberal side of the aisle.

Naturally, Austin took home the distinction as the most liberal big city in Texas, falling in near-lockstep with Philadelphia and St. Louis. Dallas and Houston were the next most-liberal locales in the Lone Star State. The only big city considered truly conservative was Arlington.  

This isn't much of a surprise, considering Barack Obama was the clear favorite in the metropolitan areas of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio during the 2012 presidential election. Obama still lost the overall Texas vote handily, but big cities weren't the reason why.

As the cities get smaller in Texas, conservatism tends to win out. In another chart in the study breaking down just Texas cities, many Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs were deemed conservative, including Plano, Lewisville, Carrollton, Garland, Grand Prairie, Richardson, Mesquite, Denton and Irving. In fact, Plano was the second most conservative city behind Amarillo.