Nov. 23, 2022 (SFChronicle.com)
San Francisco’s propositions on the November ballot covered a range of issues, including affordable housing, transportation, education and even the library.
But while the 14 measures split voters along different issues, the geographic spread of the results tell the same story: Residents living in the city center voted very differently from those in the outer neighborhoods, particularly the Sunset and Parkside.
That’s according to a Chronicle analysis that distilled the results of San Francisco’s 14 measures into one aggregate score for each precinct. We assumed that while a vote on one proposition communicates a person’s take on a given issue, responses to all 14 measures reflect a voter’s overall ideology. It’s a similar methodology to how The Chronicle calculated the progressivity of precinct voters in the past — i.e., the Progressive Voter Index.
The result is a score for every San Francisco precinct, ranging from 0 to 100 along a relative scale. The methodology does not assume any particular proposition is progressive or conservative, nor does it label the scale as such. But knowing San Francisco politics, we interpret high scores as corresponding to areas considered “progressive” in San Francisco, and low-scoring precincts having more “moderate” electorates.
We found the city’s least “progressive” precincts concentrated in a 2-square-mile area in the Outer Sunset. The precincts stretch from 19th Avenue to 40th and are bounded by Stern Grove to the north and Lake Merced and San Francisco State University to the south. Another precinct a few blocks east in St. Francis Wood has a similarly low progressivity score.
Election results from these precincts suggest a “moderate” electorate compared with the overall city population. These precincts had some of the highest shares voting against expediting affordable housing projects in the two housing measures (Props. D and E). Similarly, the measures raising taxes (Props. M and O) had strong voter disapproval.
But even on the less controversial initiatives, voters in these precincts differed from the rest of the city. The library preservation fund (Prop. F) was the most popular measure on the ballot, with 83% approval citywide. But the six precincts just northeast of Lake Merced had “yes” shares of 70% or less — among the least supportive precincts.
And while most precincts in the Outer Sunset also rate as more “moderate” in our analysis, the six least “progressive” ones have considerably lower scores. Each are under 13, while the average across the 47 Sunset/Parkside precincts is 29.
You can even visually detect them as outliers in the map of progressivity scores below. The bright red stands out from the orange and yellow-hued regions surrounding them.
In contrast, high-scoring precincts — those considered more “progressive” and colored in green and blue on the map — are more common and geographically spread out. There are 60 precincts, mainly stretching from the Panhandle down to Bernal Heights, with scores above 75. Fewer precincts (44 of them) have scores under 25.
The precinct with the highest value is a six-block stretch between Buena Vista Park and the eastern half of the Panhandle. The “yes” shares from this precinct on Propositions E (the affordable housing initiative), M (vacancy tax) and O (City College parcel tax) are at least 10 percentage points higher than the citywide percentages.
Four blocks to the east in Hayes Valley are two more precincts with equally high progressivity scores. And less than a mile south in the Mission are two more.
Results from this 1-mile radius between Haight-Ashbury and the Mission reflect the progressivity of the surrounding neighborhoods. The average score across 11 precincts in Haight-Ashbury is 77 — the highest among 40 neighborhoods. The Mission and Hayes Valley rank No. 2 and No. 3, with averages of 75 and 74, respectively.
There is less geographic concentration in the median precincts — those with scores closest to 50 and therefore most closely matching the city’s overall results. The four precincts closest to the median span all quadrants of the city, located in the Outer Richmond, Russian Hill, Sunset and Mission Bay.
Written By Nami Sumida
Nami Sumida is a data visualization developer at The San Francisco Chronicle. Before joining in 2021, she created data-driven graphics for Industry Dive, a business journalism company covering 20+ industries. She also has experience conducting research on journalism and the news media at the Pew Research Center.
Read more about the data team and their work.VIEW COMMENTS