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New Polling Ranks Arlington Among Country’s Most Politically Intolerant Counties

Arlington is among the country’s least politically open-minded counties, according to new polling published in The Atlantic.

The magazine partnered with polling company PredictWise to rank all 3,000 U.S. counties on an interactive map published today (Monday) by how much “partisan prejudice” citizens from the areas expressed. PredictWise is run by economist David Rothschild and is dedicated to “help progressive change-makers,” per its website.

Counties were ranked based off of surveys of 2,000 respondents who were asked questions such as, how they felt about family members marrying across the political aisle, and whether Democrats or Republicans were “selfish, compassionate, or patriotic.” PredictWise then combined the data was combined with county “voter files” that record voter turnout and registration. The result is a heat map ranking every county from “less prejudiced” to “more prejudiced.”

The polling places Arlington County in the most “prejudiced” category of the map. Not only that, but the polling data ranked Arlington in the 100th percentile of most prejudiced counties — that’s higher than Alexandria (99th percentile), D.C. (98th percentile of most prejudiced), Prince William (81 percentile), and Fairfax (95 percentile.) The least prejudiced county in the Greater Washington Area area is St. Mary’s County which was ranked at the 52nd percentile, meaning 48 out of 100 counties have more politically divided citizens.

PredictWise found that demographic variables like age, race, education, and proximity to cities correlated with the amount of prejudice in a county. They reported predicted more prejudice in communities that are whiter, older, urban, and more highly educated.

A subsequent poll showed that Arlington also ranked in the highest category for Democrats being dismissive of Republicans. But a third poll indicated Arlington’s Republicans are not very dismissive of Democrats — bucking a national trend showing Republicans are more dismissive of Democrats on average.

PredictWise co-founder and Chief Science Officer Tobias Konitzer tweeted that polling project is “data-driven ethnography” that “opens healthy debate.”

The area of the country PredictWise’s data deemed the most politically close-minded was Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The most open-minded was Watertown, New York.

Flickr pool photo by Jeff Reardon

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