The South is up for grabs | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The South is up for grabs

Posted By on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Scholars from the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society spoke at the Clinton School of Public Service this afternoon to celebrate the release of a national poll conducted to better understand political attitudes of voters in the South versus the balance of the country. Dr. Todd Shields talked about some of the Blair-Rockefeller Poll's initial findings but didn't go into too much detail. The school is keeping the results close to their chest so their own researchers can use the results as the basis for books and future journal articles, but they did have some interesting insights. More data will be presented at an October conference. Find out more on the jump.

The poll focused on three specific ethnic groups: whites, Latinos and African-Americans - the latter two groups have historically been under-represented in polling data. Shields went over some of the participants' answers regarding health care and immigration. It turns out that whether you're from the South or not doesn't tend to have much of an impact on how you feel about certain issues. Other factors like race and age are better predictors of respondents' attitudes. Shields said the South is really still up for grabs. President Obama and the Democrats left a lot of Latino and African-American votes "on the table" in 2010. Wedge issues are more likely to get past non-voters out to the polls, he said.

Some keys to 2012? Voter mobilization of key constituencies is a must. Which party will capture younger voters? If it comes down to issues like health care, the Latino community will be up for grabs - poll results show Latinos are split on whether they support health care reform. Shields also said it would likely come down to which party knows the South will be the region that moves the country over the next 25 years. For some additional info, check out this executive summary of initial results and some background info.

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