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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

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Volume 14, Issue 1 (Apr 2016)


Race, Class, Religion and the Southern Party System: A Field Report from Dixie

M.V. Hood III
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Political Science, University of Georgia, 104 Baldwin Hall, Athens, GA 30602, USA
  • Email:
Published Online: 2016-04-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2016-0007


The purpose of this essay is to provide a contemporary examination of the political party system in the Southern US. In doing so, an assessment is undertaken to determine which cleavage line – race, class, or religion – does the best job of explaining the division between Republicans and Democrats in the region. Using survey research data from the 2012 Cooperative Congressional Election Study three multivariate models are employed to study partisan affiliation, presidential voting, and voting in US Senate elections. The results indicate that race, especially the Black-White dichotomy, is the largest dividing line between the Republican and Democratic Parties in the region. In fact, in terms of party identification race dwarfs the effects of religion and class. As related to presidential and Senate voting behavior race continues to exert a significant influence, even after controlling for partisan identification. Conversely, class and religion produced minimal or no effects in models of vote choice. In conclusion, it would appear that the contemporary Southern political landscape, like its predecessor, continues to be defined by racial divisions.


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About the article

M.V. Hood III

M.V. (Trey) Hood III is a Professor of political science at the University of Georgia where he conducts research in American politics and policy. He is co-author of The Rational Southerner: Black Mobilization, Republican Growth, and the Partisan Transformation of the American South.

Published Online: 2016-04-22

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: The Forum, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, ISSN (Print) 2194-6183, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/for-2016-0007. Export Citation

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