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The Cultural Realignment of State White Electorates in the 21st Century


Since the beginning of the new millennium, the partisan leanings and presidential voting of state white electorates have been changing. Drawing on party realignment theories and analyses of cultural politics, this paper hypothesizes that cultural issues may be the dimension along which the realignment is occurring. The empirical findings are consistent with this view. The cultural issue preferences of state white electorates are strongly related to change in partisanship from 2000 to 2016. Further, only cultural issue attitudes have become a stronger predictor of state white presidential voting over this period. The apparent effects of partisanship, economic issue attitudes, and racial attitudes have either declined over time or been substantial in some elections and less so in others.

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