A Tale of "Two Souths": White Voting Behavior in Contemporary Southern Elections

Seth C. Mckee, Melanie J. Springer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: We empirically demonstrate that the long-held political distinction between the Deep South and the Peripheral South persists to this day. Methods: Data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) are employed in logistic regression models to assess differences in the likelihood of voting Republican among Deep and Peripheral South whites in gubernatorial, senatorial, and presidential contests. Additionally, recent data on the partisan and racial composition of various elective offices document the sharp decline in Democratic officeholders. Results: In contemporary Southern elections, Deep South whites, after controlling for several factors such as partisanship, ideology, religion, and income, are consistently and significantly more likely to vote Republican than their Peripheral South peers. Conclusions: Race remains the most salient issue in Southern politics and it structures the alignment of whites and blacks into opposing parties. Because of this, whites are more Republican in their voting behavior in the more culturally conservative subregion where the proportion of African Americans is higher: the Deep South. Dixie is now dominated by the GOP, and especially in the Deep South, with grim representational implications for African Americans because they are no longer part of coalitional majorities at virtually every level of governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)588-607
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


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