As city-dwellers across Utah go to the polls today, they will be electing the politicians closest to their neighborhoods — mayors and city council members.
And while each of Utah's 245 cities and towns has its own unique characteristics, few are as different, as diverse, as the state's largest city.
Salt Lake City is about to liberalize its zoning ordinances to allow more bars per block.
Today, it could elect its first openly gay council member.
Before the end of the year, city leaders hope to pass a new ordinance that would prohibit discrimination in housing and employment based on sexual orientation.
Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker (who is not on today's ballot) is the former leader of Democrats in the Utah House.
"We are a unique city, different than most of the rest of the state," said Becker on Monday. "We want to be ourselves, but we also welcome everyone here."
Two new surveys for the Deseret News and KSL-TV by pollster Dan Jones & Associates show among their demographics just how different Salt Lake City residents are politically and culturally compared to most of the rest of the state.
(There are other small pockets of "liberalism" in Utah, like Park City, Moab, Springdale and Price, to name a few.)
All of Salt Lake City's state House and Senate members are Democrats — a few among them the most liberal in the heavily conservative Legislature. All Salt Lake mayors have been Democrats since 1976.
And while the city is the world headquarters for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormons are a minority in the city itself.
Here are some other interesting polling statistics matching Salt Lake City residents with Utahns as a whole:
63 percent of city residents have a college degree. The city is home to the University of Utah and much of its staff lives there. The city also contains five major hospitals, several museums and theater companies, a ballet, opera and symphony.
In Utah as a whole, 48 percent of residents have college degrees.
37 percent of Salt Lakers say they are Democrats. Thirty-one percent say they are political independents; only 24 percent say they are Republicans.
Across the state, 46 percent say they are Republicans; 28 percent say they are political independents and only 15 percent say they are Democrats.
This makes Utah one of the most Republican states in the nation. All statewide offices are held by Republicans, all governors have been Republicans since 1984 and Republicans have held majorities (often with two-thirds majorities) in the Legislature since the late 1970s.
In the city, 40 percent of residents say they are members of the LDS Church, either inactive, somewhat or very active in their church. (Less than a third of city residents say they are "very active" LDS.)
Across the state, 68 percent of residents say they are LDS, Jones' latest survey shows. (Jones is married to Senate Minority Leader Pat Jones, D-Holladay.)
And the real kicker statistic: 32 percent of city dwellers say they are "somewhat" or "very liberal" politically.
In Utah as a whole? Just 12 percent.
"I wear a big 'L' on my chest, I'm voraciously liberal," says Rep. David Litvack, D-Salt Lake, the current minority leader of the Utah House.
Raised in his early life outside of Utah, Litvack moved here with his parents during high school. He lived by Cottonwood High School, outside of the city limits.
But when he returned to Utah after graduate school, he moved first to Sugar House, then to Central City.
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