Compared to the average voter in Santa Clara County who cast a ballot on Nov. 4, Mountain View residents voted farther to the left on issues such as gay marriage, high speed rail, BART to San Jose, animal rights and parental notification for abortion. The only city in the county to vote more to the left on such issues was Palo Alto.
"If anything I think we might be getting even more progressive," compared to last year, said Vice Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga. "In terms of voter registration, we're overwhelmingly Democratic, though the number of Independents has grown."
President-elect Barack Obama had more voter support in Mountain View and Palo Alto than in any other cities in Santa Clara County, winning 76.9 percent of the vote in Mountain View and 80.1 percent in Palo Alto. The average for a city countywide was 69.5 percent.
For state Proposition 8, a proposed ban on gay marriage, 69.3 percent of Mountain View voters opposed the measure, the largest opposition in the county behind Palo Alto's 75.7 percent. The proposition won in only three Santa Clara County cities: Morgan Hill, Milpitas and Gilroy. It won statewide anyway by a margin of 3 percent.
State Proposition 4, which would have required parental notification before a minor could have an abortion, followed a similar pattern among local voters. Only Palo Alto had a more liberal stance than Mountain View, with 71.5 percent voting against the measure compared to Mountain View's 68.2 percent.
Abe-Koga echoed other officials in saying that Mountain View voters were instrumental in turning the tide on BART to San Jose, helping to pass Measure B by the slimmest of margins despite having opposed several BART-to-San Jose funding measures in previous years. Measure B required 66.67 percent of the county vote to pass, and garnered 66.78 percent countywide. Mountain View was among the most supportive of Santa Clara County cities, with 68.7 percent of voters in favor of the measure.
"Mountain View helped to put that over the top, basically," Abe-Koga said. "I was extremely happy about that."
Abe-Koga was also pleased with the city's registered voter turnout —the highest of any large city in the county at 89.7 percent (the county average was 86 percent). Smaller Palo Alto had 89.8 percent, and Los Altos topped them all with a 91.6 percent turnout. County workers called the large turnout a once-in-a-lifetime event, likely due to the heated presidential race and controversial propositions.
Abe-Koga credited Mountain View's "progressive" lean to the city's changing demographics: more young people, more college educated people and changing racial demographics.