Takoma Park Folk Festival Credit: Visit Montgomery

The results of a new study by a political website that uses campaign donations and candidate records to attempt to determine how liberal or conservative a city or town is has determined that  Takoma Park is one of the most liberal places in the United States.

The town that shares a border with Washington, D.C., in the eastern part of Montgomery County ranked as the eighth most liberal place out of the 4,994 towns and cities included in the ranking published Monday by Crowdpac, which claims to be “the definitive resource for objective data on U.S. political candidates.”

Takoma Park is widely known as one of the most liberal areas in the state, with a proud history of activism in support of the environment, diversity and equality. It’s commonly referred to as “The People’s Republic of Takoma Park” or “The Berkeley of the East” and, in political circles, some elected officials from there are jokingly referred to as “Takoma Park liberals.” In a 2011 story by The Washington Post, Takoma Park was referred to as a “hippie haven” that “has declared itself a nuclear-free zone and a sanctuary city where illegal immigrants are protected.”

Crowdpac included cities and towns with populations greater than 6,000 in its ranking. To rank communities, the study used donors’ addresses from federal and state campaign data to determine which candidates received donations from residents. Researchers then compared that information with the ideological rankings given by Crowdpac to candidates. If residents of a particular town supported candidates who shared liberal views, the website ranked that town higher on the liberal scale, and vice versa for the conservative viewpoint.

Each town or city that was included was given an overall score from a high of 10L (most liberal) to 10C (most conservative).  Crowdpac has previously ranked candidates’ political ideologically based on what groups have donated to them, the types of legislation they’ve voted for and what they’ve said publicly.

Takoma Park was ranked eighth with an overall score of 7.4L, putting it between Berkeley and Albany, California, on the list. Vashon Island, Washington, came in a No. 1 with an overall score of 9.9L.

The website’s study takes a different tack than traditional political studies of places that rely on voter registration information or polls. It attempts to examine the political affiliation of a place based on residents’ contributions to candidates.

Given Montgomery County’s current support for Democrats—every elected official on the national, state and local level is a Democrat—it’s not surprising that other local towns and cities also were ranked on the “liberal” side by Crowdpac.

Bethesda came in at 4.1L and was ranked the 299th most liberal place while Silver Spring cracked the top 100 most liberal cities with a score of 5.4L, which earned a rank of the 94th most liberal place in the country. Rockville scored a 3.6L, good for 410th place and Potomac earned a score of 2.5L for 786th..