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August 26, 2014

It Isn't Just Austin That Is A Liberal Island

A few weeks back I noted that Austin is a liberal island in the heart of Texas and is out of step with the rest of the state politically. Well, there is more proof of that -- and that deviation from the Texas norm is reflected countywide in Travis County.

Data from eight University of Texas/Texas Tribune Polls conducted among registered voters between May of 2011 and June of 2014 allow us to estimate the mean ideological position of the voting public in 20 of the state’s 21 most populous counties — counties which combined contain almost three-fourths (73 percent) of the Texas population. Insufficient survey data exist at the present time for Webb County, the 19th most populous county in the state.

The UT/Tribune Poll contains an ideology variable based on a question asking respondents to place themselves on a seven-point ideology scale ranging from “Extremely Liberal” (1) to “Extremely Conservative” (7), with a 4 indicating the respondent considers their ideological position to be “In the Middle.” A mean ideological position for every county is calculated by averaging the valid self-reported ideological placement of its residents.

The data was graphed as follows.

CountyIdeology[1].jpg

Of course, it is likely that the city of Austin skews the county as a whole and that the rest of Travis County is much more reflective of Texas as a whole. But it also accounts for how you got a grand jury like the one that indicted Rick Perry -- loaded with partisan Democrats and virtually devoid of Republicans.





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