Sunday, June 3, 2012

California's Most Politically Independent Cities-By Party Registration

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has released city-level voter registration statistics as of May 21, 2012.  The percentage of voters registered with "No Party Preference" has increased in recent decades.

Just under 17.2 million voters are now registered in California: 43.4% are Democrats, 30.2% are Republicans and 21.3% have "No Party Preference," commonly known as "independent" or "decline-to-state" registered voters.

The following are the top fifteen cities with the highest percentages of "No Party Preference" registered voters:

(1)   Cupertino (Santa Clara County), 39.7%
(2)   Milpitas (Santa Clara County), 34.5%
(3)   Walnut (Los Angeles County), 32.7%
(4)   Arcadia (Los Angeles County), 32.1%
(5)   Arcata (Humboldt County), 31.9%
(6)   Monterey Park (Los Angeles County), 31.2%
(7)   San Marino (Los Angeles County), 31.1%
(8)   Rosemead (Los Angeles County), 31.1%
(9)   Sunnyvale (Santa Clara County), 30.8%
(10)  San Francisco, 30.6%
(11)  Saratoga (Santa Clara County), 30.5%
(12)  Temple City (Los Angeles County), 30.4%
(13)  Irvine (Orange County), 30.2%
(14)  Foster City (San Mateo County), 29.8%
(15)  San Gabriel (Los Angeles County), 29.8%

Seven of these cities are located in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County.  Four are located in Santa Clara County.  Two are college towns (Arcata and Irvine).

A common demographic feature among most of these "politically independent" cities is their high percentage of residents of Asian ancestry, as reported in the 2010 Census of Population: Cupertino (63.3% Asian), Milpitas (62.2% Asian), Walnut (63.6% Asian), Arcadia (59.2% Asian), Monterey Park (66.9% Asian, mostly Chinese), San Francisco (33.3% Asian), Saratoga (41.4% Asian), Temple City (55.7% Asian), Irvine (39.2% Asian), Foster City (45.0% Asian) and San Gabriel (60.7% Asian).  Arcata is an outlier, with just 2.6% of its population with Asian ancestry.

Cupertino, the most politically independent California city in terms of voter registration, is perhaps best known as the headquarters of Apple, Inc.  It is the only California city where "No Party Preference" registered voters (39.7%) outnumber both Democrats (36.7%) and Republicans (21.1%).  The 2010 Census of Population found that 63.3% of Cupertino's 58,000 residents are of Asian ancestry (mostly Chinese and Indian).

The most Democratic cities in California are Coachella in Riverside County (73.8%) and Inglewood (73.7%) and Compton (72.4%) in Los Angeles County, followed by three Salinas Valley/U.S. 101 cities in Monterey County, Greenfield (71.0%), Soledad (69.2%) and Gonzales (68.2%).  The least Democratic cities are Villa Park in Orange County (17.8%), Indian Wells in Riverside County (18.3%) and Rolling Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County (19.5%).

The most Republican cities in California are Indian Wells (64.3%), Villa Park (63.9%), Canyon Lake in Riverside County (58.3%), Rolling Hills (58.0%), and Kingsburg in Fresno County (56.7%).  Yorba Linda, President Richard Nixon's birthplace, is the sixth most Republican city (56.5%).  Ripon in San Joaquin County, sharing the same name as the city where the Republican Party was founded in the 1850s in Wisconsin, is no. 7 (56.0%).  The least Republican cities are Berkeley (4.8%), Inglewood in Los Angeles County (6.7%) and Oakland (6.9%) and Albany (7.1%) in Alameda County.

The cities with the highest American Independent Party registrations tend to be rural communities: Tehama in Tehama County (9.0%, Montague in Siskiyou County (6.7%), Vernon in Los Angeles County (6.7%), Portola in Plumas County (6.7%), Loyalton in Sierra County (6.3%) and Maricopa in Kern County (6.2%).   Some American Independent Party registrants select this party preference in error, assuming that "American Independent" means "No Party Preference."
The cities with the highest Green Party registrations are all in the North Coast counties: Arcata (7.4%) and Blue Lake (6.0%) in Humboldt County, Point Arena in Mendocino County (5.1%), Fairfax in Marin County (4.7%), Trinidad in Humboldt County (4.7%) and Sebastopol in Sonoma County (4.5%).