“San Fran” in the Crosshairs With Kamala Harris Becoming the 49th Vice President

January 28, 2021

San Francisco will be under increased attacks by conservatives with the election of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States — the country’s first woman, first African-American, first South Asian-American, and first Bay Area native to hold the nation’s number two post.  

According to Bospar’s research, a majority of Republicans (50%) expect attacks on San Francisco to escalate now that Harris has been elevated to one step from the presidency. Georgia’s historic Senate run-off election results may propel Harris further into one of the most active vice presidencies in American history. 

Before serving as the United States Senator for California, the Oakland native was the district attorney of the City and County of San Francisco.

This research coincides with Bospar’s annual #SaySanFrancisco campaign that celebrates the history of San Francisco’s naming on January 30, 1847, while also focusing on the importance of  proper names – a key branding and PR challenge.  

Since learning the people of San Francisco would prefer not to have their city referred to as “San Fran” or “Frisco,” 63.5% of Americans now say they will stop using those nicknames. But 71.2% of Republicans revealed that if they knew saying “San Fran” would drive Vice President Harris nuts, they would keep using it, and a majority of Republicans (51.9%) predict “San Fran” will stick as a pejorative while Harris is the nation’s vice president.

Americans are divided about whether trashing San Francisco represents Americans’ need to villainize something. A majority of Democrats (53.4%) believe trashing San Francisco is indeed indicative of Americans’ need to scapegoat and tear something apart, while 66.4% of Republicans feel otherwise.

Americans identified the No. 1 cause (44.5%) for Americans’ anger with themselves as social media, which they said inflamed hatred. In fact, a significant percentage (44.5%) of Americans admit to lashing out on social media. While politicians receive the brunt of Americans’ wrath, cities came in second, followed by businesses. However, the demographics revealed an even more nuanced picture. While Republicans were most likely to badmouth a politician on social media, their second target wasn’t a city but rather a sports team or sports player. Democrats, meanwhile, were far more likely to complain about cities than athletes.   

Diving into the demographics, Bospar discovered that over the past year, two groups said they liked San Francisco “a lot more” – people making over $150,000 (up 38%) and those with master’s degrees and higher (up 41%). Respondents cited the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a model for the nation, with 38.7% recognizing the leadership of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, the city’s embrace of science (37.0%), the ethos of the tech community (20.0%), and female leadership in general (19.0%).   The more liberal, educated and well-off you are, the more likely you are going to favor the San Francisco Bay Area, its politicians and its businesses.  During our campaign to #SaySanFrancisco we have discovered an entrenched movement to trash and troll our city by forces who are threatened by everything this city represents. It is our fervent wish we can turn the page and come together as Americans – no matter what city we call home.

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About the author

Curtis Sparrer is a principal of Bospar PR. He has represented brands like PayPal, Tetris and the alien hunters of the SETI Institute. He is a member of the Forbes Communications Council and has written for Adweek, Forbes, the Dallas Morning News, and PRWeek. He is an active member of the National Lesbian Gay Journalist Association. Business Insider has twice listed him as one of the Top Fifty in Tech PR.



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