Where did West Hollywood voters stand on issues in the last election?
The November election included 19 state and county measures covering criminal justice, tax, education, health, and environmental issues. We wondered what we could learn about the views of West Hollywood residents from their votes on those measures.
For context, we compared West Hollywood to other Los Angeles County communities, including 87 other cities and almost 70 unincorporated areas. We used the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s preliminary vote counts from the day after the election. We later checked to make sure the final counts wouldn’t significantly change the results shown below. The West Hollywood numbers would change by a percentage point at most.
Criminal justice questions
The chart below shows the range of support for each criminal justice question among Los Angeles communities. Support is expressed in terms of the percentage of voters who voted yes in a given community.
Take background checks for ammunition buyers as an example. The least supportive community in the county was Citrus, an unincorporated area in the San Gabriel Valley. Only 18% of the voters there said yes. That’s the black mark on the left. There would be a black mark on the right for the most supportive community, but it happens to be West Hollywood. West Hollywood is marked in red. 89% of the city’s voters said yes. Looking at the county as a whole, 72% were in favor. That’s the blue mark.
West Hollywood stood out on the criminal justice questions. The city’s voters were number one in voting to require background checks for ammunition buyers (almost 90%), give parole more often and let judges decide whether juveniles are tried in adult court (85%), legalize marijuana (close to 85%), and end the death penalty (just over 70%).
No other community in the county came out as strongly for those measures, but some were close. Santa Monica was in the top five on each measure. Culver City was in the top 10 or so. Beverly Hills was in the top 10 for background checks and top 20 for legalizing marijuana.
Countywide, those four measures won the majority of votes. It was closest for death penalty repeal, which was barely over 50% countywide. (It fell short of a majority statewide.) Voters were more supportive of marijuana legalization, which got 60% of the county vote. The two other measures — background checks for ammunition sales and parole/juvenile justice changes — collected about seven in 10 votes in the county.
Some communities were just as opposed to the measures as West Hollywood was supportive. For example, in the Antelope Valley communities of Acton and Del Sur, roughly 70% to 80% of voters said no.
As a group, Los Angeles County voters supported higher taxes. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of them voted for each of the five tax measures on the November ballot. The parcel tax for parks was the most popular. The least popular still got two-thirds of the vote: the extension of higher income tax rates for high earners.
Not all communities were in favor of the tax measures. Support in some communities was as low as 20%.
West Hollywood voters supported the tax measures in even greater numbers than the county average. The “yes” votes ranged from roughly 75% for the income tax extension to about 85% for parks, versus 67% to 75% for the county. For the tobacco tax increase, West Hollywood ranked first among Los Angeles County communities. The city was also in the top five voting for the Medi-Cal hospital tax.
Nearby cities were not as supportive of the tax measures as West Hollywood, except for the tobacco tax. Santa Monica was in the top five for that, Culver City in the top 10, and Beverly Hills in the top 20.
The spread between West Hollywood and the rest of the county was narrower for the tax measures than for the criminal justice measures. West Hollywood’s support for taxes was about 10 percentage points higher than the county, versus 20 percentage points for the criminal justice measures.
Education, health, and environmental questions
West Hollywood’s roughly 85% support for bilingual education was the highest in the county. The county averaged a little over 75%.
The city’s voters also supported the school construction bond measure, though the yes vote was much smaller (60%). That was roughly the same as the county average. It may be that Governor Brown’s opposition to the measure influenced the vote.
Nearby cities were not as supportive of either measure.
One defeated measure would have limited the price some state programs could pay for drugs. West Hollywood led the county in voting for that proposition at almost 65%. The county average was about 50%. Santa Monica was top five and Culver City was top 10.
On the other hand, West Hollywood voters stood out for their opposition to requiring condoms in adult films. Only 30% or so of voters supported it. It won a majority countywide and over 70% in some communities. It failed statewide.
On an environmental issue, the plastic bag ban, West Hollywood’s yes vote was about 20 percentage points above the county’s: roughly 75% versus a little over 55%. West Hollywood, Santa Monica, Culver City, and Beverly Hills ranked second, third, fourth, and twelfth in their support.
President and senator
This report focuses on issues, but we also tallied the votes for president and US senator.
One in eight West Hollywood voters chose the Republican nominee for president. That was slightly higher than the share of voters who registered as Republicans. Countywide, almost a quarter of voters supported the Republican nominee.
In the US senate race, Kamala Harris won over 80% of the vote in West Hollywood. She got about 60% countywide.
Note: Revised on January 15, 2017, to be more specific about the data sources.
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