The Atlantic recently asked PredictWise, an analytics firm, to rank US counties based on partisan prejudice (“affective polarization”). The results are now in, and they are fascinating.
The most intolerant country was not Rabun County in northeastern Georgia, where the film Deliverance was shot. Nor was it in Albany County, Wyoming, where Matthew Shepard was killed. And it was not in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, where Emmett Till was lynched more than a half-century ago.
The most politically intolerant county in the United States, The Atlantic says, appears to be Suffolk County, Massachusetts.
Suffolk County and America’s Most Politically Intolerant
Suffolk County, part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, represents the heart of the Boston-Cambridge-Newton part of New England.
Politically, Suffolk County is about as progressive as America gets.
As of 2016, it had a (mostly white) population of 784,230, all of whom cram into 58 square miles of land surface area. The median family income is about $58,000. It is highly educated, with 44 percent of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, and it is barely a stone’s throw from two of America’s most esteemed universities—Harvard and MIT.
Politically, Suffolk County is about as progressive as America gets. The county’s three congressional districts—the 5th, 7th, and 8th—are represented by progressive Democrats: Rep. Katherine Clark, Rep. Ayanna Soyini Pressley, and Rep. Stephen Lynch. Just 5 percent of county residents identify as Republican. No GOP presidential candidate has claimed Suffolk County since Calvin Coolidge—in 1924.