THE NEW PIONEERS : For a Majority of Suburbanites, Political Lines Form to the Right


One political consultant calls it "Republican heaven."

According to The Times Orange County Poll, residents of the southern foothill communities are very conservative, even by Orange County standards. Fifty-three percent of foothill respondents said they were conservative, in fact, compared to 44% in a recent countywide survey.

"I don't think Tom Hayden's getting many supporters out in the new towns," quipped UC Irvine urban sociologist Mark Baldassare, who conducted the poll.

In fact, only 17% of poll respondents in the new communities described themselves as liberal, opposed to 28% countywide. And those who said they were very liberal in the new survey numbered fewer than 10%.

"People like this who are fleeing the urban problems of northern Orange County and the rest of Southern California probably would tend to be more conservative," Baldassare said. "There is an affluent, white, upper-middle-class group of people that has defined these new towns as their new homes, and they're a pretty conservative bunch."

The political findings should be no surprise, said political consultant Mark Thompson, who called the area a "Republican heaven."

"These are people who moved out there because they are probably fairly conservative in many aspects of their lives, not just politically," Thompson said. "Many are middle- and upper-income folks who wanted to get away from the urban areas and get into a nice, clean, safe environment that emphasizes family values. They are not your typical risk takers."

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