It’s generally considered that Boise City and Ada County are the most politically moderate places in otherwise very Republican Idaho.
Now the demographics in a poll for Idaho Politics Weekly shows those differences.
Here are some of the interesting numbers found by Dan Jones & Associates:
- Across the state, 37 percent of Idahoans say they belong to the Republican Party.
- Only 16 percent say they are Democrats – a pretty low number.
- 35 percent say they don’t belong to any political party, or are officially “unaffiliated” on the voter registration rolls.
- And 11 percent tell Jones they belong to some other political party, like the Greens or Libertarians.
Now let’s take a look at Ada County, which includes the capital Boise City and Boise State University:
- Only 23 percent of those surveyed in the county say they are Republicans.
- 30 percent say they are Democrats, or twice the percentage of the state as a whole.
- 28 percent of county residents said they are political independents.
- And 19 percent said they belong to some other political party.
Those are some big differences in the political make-up of the citizenry, Jones finds.
There’s another way to look at local and statewide politics.
Jones also finds, for example, that 44 percent of all those who told him they were “very liberal” politically live in Ada County.
Now, there are not a lot of “very liberal” folks in Idaho as a whole – only around 6 percent of the state’s adult population put themselves in that category.
But nearly half of all of them live in and around the state capitol of Boise.
By comparison, on the other side of the political ledger, only 18 percent of those who said they are “very conservative” politically live in Ada County – all the other politically conservative folks live outside of the county in the rest of Idaho.
In Idaho, an independent commission redrew the two U.S. House seats back in 2011 after the Census.
And Ada County is split between the 1st and 2nd Districts.
Boise City is mostly intact, with the older, established areas going into the 2nd District – joined with the southeastern part of the state.
Is it just happenstance, then, that the 1st District is represented by conservative Raul Labrador, a member of the Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House, and the 2nd District/Boise is held by the more moderate (but still conservative) Mike Simpson?
Probably not, for Simpson has – as our poll shows – the more moderate/liberal areas of Boise city to contend with.
Jones polled 649 adults from May 4-18. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.85 percent statewide.