Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Hal Bass

Second Advisor

Dr. Doug Reed

Third Advisor

Dr. Erik Benson

Abstract

The Republican Party is sweeping the South, or is it? Throughout the Old South Republicans have been making gains in an area that has traditionally been a bastion of Democratic strength in American politics. While Arkansas may appear to be following this trend, in reality GOP gains in the Natural State may be only superficial. Despite strong showings by Republican candidates for higher offices in Arkansas, a GOP contender has yet to win a statewide office past the Lieutenant Governor's race.

This research paper examines "ticket splitting" in Arkansas elections. Ticket splitting is the practice of voting for candidates of different political parties in the same election as opposed to voting for all candidates of a given party (a straight ticket). My research shows Arkansas voters heavily split their tickets in the Republican-Democrat direction. Meaning that they vote for the Republican candidate at the top of the ballot and vote for Democrats at the bottom of the ticket. Furthermore, Republican roll-off in Arkansas if sizeable for GOP candidates while Democrats enjoy strong voter support all the way down the ballot. These results yield greater incite into the strength of the two parties in Arkansas, and the cause of divided government in Arkansas politics.

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