We call it 'going behind The Orange Curtain' when you leave LA for the OC. It is..... different.
The OC does have a history of being pretty conservative (Richard Nixon was born there, fwiw), and it is still considered to be a conservative bastion. However, you are right that the conservativeness of the county has been waning in recent years; I think they're down to ~40% registered R voters now, and white people are a minority.
Used to be home to Marine Corps Air Station El Torro (of "Independence Day" fame), but the base closed in 1997 and the 3rd MAW moved to Miramar (near San Diego) after that base was transferred from the Navy to the Corps. A large chunk of the reliably conservative population went with it. But the bulk of the shift is simply changing demographics.
The OC is sort of a microcosm of California as a whole, actually. In my lifetime, CA used to be reliably purple (if not outright red). Now, after losing all 8 statewide elections in 2010, the GOP is actually having a hard time even recruiting candidates to run. This is compounded by our primary system, where the top two vote getters (regardless of part affiliation) advance to the general election ballot. So it's entirely possible that many statewide offices will be contested between two Democrats in November.
Shyster wrote:Almost a million people live in the consolidated city/county of San Francisco, and according to the last data I saw precisely zero people had been issued CCW permits. They simply don't give them to anyone.
I don't know if that's better or worse than L.A. There are currently ~340 active CCW permits in a county of nearly 10 million; adjacent Kern County has fewer than 1 million residents, but has issued over 3,500 CCW permits. Making matters worse, of the 340+ active CCW permits out there, over two dozen of them are held by people who are friends of or political donors to (now ex-) Sheriff Lee Bacca. And of the 120-odd permit applications that were rejected in 2012, only one was a Bacca donor.
I told my wife the other night that now might be a good time to apply for a permit, even if she has no intention of ever carrying.