Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Political Science

Document Type



The American South went through a period of political transition in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This transition reached its climax after the 1994 elections, after which Democrats ceased to hold the majority of House seats in the South, never to regain that strength. However, Democrats continued to win a decent share of House seats in the South after 1994, with about 40% of Southern House seats being won by Democrats until the 2010 elections, after which Democrats shrunk to a much smaller minority.

This paper analyzes the factors that allowed some Democrats to continue to be elected to the House from Southern districts between 1994 and 2010. I find that two of the same constituency factors that correlate to Democratic victories elsewhere in the country, namely a larger non-white population and a more urban population, correlate to Democratic strength in Southern House districts between 1994 and 2010. On the other hand, I find that races featuring incumbents (as opposed to open seat races) and the number of Democratic officials elected to other offices from the same state do not significantly correlate to Democratic strength in those House elections.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Jeffrey Budziak, Ph.D.


American Politics | Other Political Science | Political History | Political Science