Election maps show how L.A. has aligned with S.F. and Bay Area in progressive voting

In the wake of the Nov. 3 election, the county-by-county voting maps for California’s ballot initiatives speak volumes about how the state’s politics have evolved over the past half-century.

In particular, Los Angeles has aligned more frequently with the liberal Bay Area than with the rest of Southern California — and sometimes the two have diverged from the rest of the state.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the Bay Area and Los Angeles have grown much more Democratic since 1980, while the interior of the state still votes much like it did in the late 1960s.

“Both of those centers have been moving Democratic over the past 30 or 40 years,” said Eric McGhee, senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. “They moved Democratic faster than the rest of the state, and the rest of the state is starting to play catch-up.”

 Election maps show how L.A. has aligned with S.F. and Bay Area in progressive voting

He said both counties tend to be more open to taxation, and the Bay Area — San Francisco especially — leans even more liberal on economic and social issues. If the two regions agree on an issue, San Francisco typically pushes further for the progressive stance.

“They tend to be the two most Democratic regions of the state,” said McGhee. “The Bay Area tends to be more liberal than Los Angeles. Los Angeles is not as far left as the Bay Area. There are more little pockets of social conservatism in L.A., and a little more conservatism in general.”

As of Friday, some vote counts from the November 2020 election were still trickling in, but the statewide ballot contests have been decided — with several showing how closely Los Angeles aligns with the Bay Area.

Proposition 15

The measure, which would have raised property taxes on commercial property, was defeated 52% against and 48% in favor. If it had passed, it would have been one of California’s biggest tax increases in state history, generating $6.5 billion to $11.5 billion annually for local governments and schools.

Los Angeles County, which voted 53% in favor, would have seen big tax gains, while San Francisco backed it with 71% of the “yes” vote. As with other tax measures, liberals generally favored it and conservatives tended to oppose it. Unions and Democrats including Gov. Gavin Newsom and Sen. Kamala Harris supported it, while businesses and real estate groups opposed it.

Proposition 16

The ballot measure that would have lifted the ban on affirmative action lost statewide with 57% against and 43% in favor. If passed, it would have reinstated the ability to consider race and sex in government hiring and contracting and in public university admissions in California.

Only five Bay Area counties and Los Angeles County voted yes. Los Angeles County’s support was narrow at 51%, while San Francisco’s was higher at 64%.

Proposition 17

Proposition 17 was approved 59% to 41%, granting voting rights to more than 50,000 former state prisoners. California joins 19 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing parolees to vote.

The measure received wide support up and down the coast and the Inland Empire, with only Del Norte County in the far north and Orange County in the south opposed in those areas. Los Angeles County showed strong support with 66% in favor and 35% opposed, and San Francisco voted 78% in favor, 22% against.

Proposition 20

This measure, which would have expanded the list of crimes that could be considered violent felonies and made some prisoners ineligible for parole hearings, was widely rejected, 62% against to 38% in favor. Sponsored by police groups, some county prosecutors and business owners, the only areas that voted in favor were conservative pockets in the Central Valley and northeast corner of the state. Los Angeles County voted 66% “no,” while San Francisco’s rejection was event stronger at 72%.

While there is much agreement among Los Angeles and San Francisco, they parted ways on several measures.

Proposition 25

Proposition 25, which would have abolished cash bail and given judges authority to decide if a defendant should be freed before trial, fell 56% against to 44% in favor. Only the Bay Area, a few adjacent counties and Alpine County on the Nevada border voted in favor of the measure.

Legislation to make California the first state to eliminate cash bail was approved by state lawmakers and signed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018. But bail bond companies paid $3 million to collect signatures for a referendum that put the measure on hold until voters could weigh in. Supporters argued cash bail promotes public safety, while opponents said it disproportionately affects poor people.

While more favorable toward many social issues, 55% of Los Angeles County voters rejected the proposition. San Francisco voted 56% in favor and 44% against.

Proposition 22

Companies paid a record-breaking $205 million to promote Proposition 22, which would keep gig workers as independent contractors. The move worked, with 59% voting “yes” to 41% voting “no” statewide. The measure exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from treating some workers as employees for purposes of benefits.

Only the coastal part of the Bay Area, northern counties and one Sierra outlier rejected it, with 59% of San Francisco voters against Prop. 22. In Los Angeles, the favorable vote was 55%. Gig-work companies bombarded voters with television ads, text messages and mailers, and some even ran ads within their apps. Uber and Lyft even threatened to leave California if the measure failed. Labor groups raised $20 million to oppose the proposition, reaching out to millions of union members across the state.

Proposition 21

The second measure in three years that aimed to roll back state limits on rent control, Proposition 21 was defeated 60% against and 40% in favor. San Francisco was one of only two counties in the state to support the measure, with 52% voting yes. (In neighboring Alameda County, the measure was squeaking by on Friday with just over 50% of the vote.)

The result was unsurprising, as San Francisco continues to be the most expensive rental market in the country despite plummeting rents, and is the county with the highest percentage of renter-occupied housing in the state.

 Election maps show how L.A. has aligned with S.F. and Bay Area in progressive voting

Kellie Hwang is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kellie.hwang@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @KellieHwang

Article source: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Election-maps-show-how-L-A-has-aligned-with-S-F-15723764.php

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