The Impact of the New Deal on Southern Voting Habits

The New Deal changed politics in the United States forever, and in one way it did so was it started to get Southern voters and politicians to start thinking twice about left-wing politics. The South had for a long time been known as the “Solid South” as Democrats could count on the votes of these states even in the worst of times due to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Such reconsideration involved questions of race, the growing power of organized labor, and the permanently increasing size of the federal government. For the purposes of measuring the impact, I have calculated ideological averages based on my MC-Index of politicians from former Confederate states who served at least two terms before and two terms during the Roosevelt Administration for comparison. After Woodrum senators are listed. I have mentioned this before, but 0 is most left, while 100 is most right.

Before After
Hill (AL) 10 19
Steagall (AL) 6 23
Oliver (AL) 13 23
Bankhead (AL) 14 5
Huddleston (AL) 16 59
Driver (AR) 17 16
Fuller (AR) 22 24
Parks (AR) 12 8
Sears (FL) 12 18
Cox (GA) 30 59
Ramspeck (GA) 20 21
Vinson (GA) 17 33
Tarver (GA) 27 52
Montet (LA) 24 19
Sandlin (LA) 14 11
Wilson (LA) 14 13
De Rouen (LA) 30 13
Rankin (MS) 18 56
Doxey (MS) 16 26
Whittington (MS) 39 47
Collins (MS) 9 32
Warren (NC) 15 27
Kerr (NC) 22 33
Clark (NC) 26 36
Doughton (NC) 17 48
Bulwinkle (NC) 25 36
Weaver (NC) 16 21
McMillan (SC) 17 54
Fulmer (SC) 16 35
McSwain (SC) 14 15
Gasque (SC) 9 25
McReynolds (TN) 19 15
Byrns (TN) 18 23
Cooper (TN) 26 28
Patman (TX) 10 21
Sanders (TX) 6 20
Rayburn (TX) 24 13
Sumners (TX) 20 44
Johnson, L.A. (TX) 10 36
Eagle (TX) 6 11
Mansfield (TX) 15 32
Buchanan (TX) 30 22
Cross (TX) 19 9
Lanham (TX) 17 66
Blanton (TX) 31 23
Jones (TX) 23 19
Bland (VA) 36 42
Montague (VA) 42 36
Drewry (VA) 34 47
Woodrum (VA) 30 43
Black (AL) 9 6
Robinson (AR) 8 3
Fletcher (FL) 20 12
Trammell (FL) 13 29
George (GA) 17 49
Harrison (MS) 8 21
Byrnes (SC) 12 26
Smith, Ed (SC) 10 50
McKellar (TN) 6 34
Connally (TX) 15 37
Sheppard (TX) 7 6
Glass (VA) 29 55
Average Score 18.17742 28.79032

As you can see, the jump in score is by approximately 11 points, and although this is not shown here, the effect is especially pronounced starting during World War II.

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