Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ideology in the South

We've polled three southern states in the last month: Alabama, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Democrats have varying degrees of success in these places: in North Carolina Obama won and there's a majority Democratic Congressional delegation, in West Virginia Obama got clocked but there's still a majority Democratic Congressional delegation, and in Alabama, well, there hasn't been a lot good news for Democrats recently.

What's interesting though is that the three states break down pretty similarly on ideological lines:









North Carolina




West Virginia




Digging deeper into the numbers it's easy to figure out why Democrats have so much more trouble in Alabama: conservatives have almost completely left the party. In North Carolina and Virginia around 30% of voters who define themselves that way ideologically are still Democrats but in Alabama just 20% are. And Democrats in Alabama are having a lot more trouble holding moderates as well. While 60% of West Virginia moderates and 54% of North Carolina moderates are still Democrats, just 44% of the ones in Alabama are.

There is no longer the ideological diversity among Democratic ranks in Alabama that once existed and still exists to some extent in North Carolina and West Virginia and that makes it much harder for the party to succeed there in high level elections.

The difference between West Virginia and North Carolina is the disparity between a state with a 3% black population and one with a 20% black population.


andgarden said...

Could you do party membership and ideology by race too? I think that's the most meaningful distinction in Alabama.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, there has been some good news for Democrats in Alabama lately. (I am a Republican.) They won an open seat for Congress that was held by a Democrat. They picked up an open seat that was held by a Republican. The current Congressmen that hold these seats are Blue Dog Democrats. Even with their moderate to conservative leanings, they probably will have tough reelection bids in 2010. The black turnout won't be like it was for Obama. The GOP might be able to claim the momentum. The Republicans did pick up the State Senate seat of the Alabama Congressman who won, in 2008, the open seat that was held by a Democrat. Like yesterday's poll showed, the 2010 Alabama gubernatorial race could likely be a close one.

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