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Second Verse, Same as the First

Second Verse, Same as the First

Melissa King from over at the University of Arkansas Press just sent me a copy of their new book, Second Verse, Same as the First: The 2012 Presidential Election in the South, edited by Scott E. Buchanan and Branwell Dubose Kapeluck, political scientists at The Citadel. The chapter on Arkansas was written by the university’s Janine Parry and her frequent-collaborator from Hendrix College, Jay Barth.

The two of them have more than a decade of rich data to work with from the Arkansas Poll and the Hendrix College/Talk Business Poll. They look at the results of the 2008 and 2012 elections – from the top to bottom of the ballot. While noting what they call typically Arkansan contradictory behavior, such as passing a ballot proposal for a new tax while voting in “emphatically antitax elected officials up and down the ticket.” Still, they write, the rejection of the Democratic Party in 2012, “appears to have altered the state’s political landscape permanently.”

“With that said, however, the election cycle of 2014 (when Democrat Mike Beebe will be replace as governor and the still-small GOP majorities in the legislature must be defended) will be crucial to ascertaining whether Arkansas will join other southern states as a solidly one-party GOP state or whether a stable two-party system will be the norm in the new Arkansas politics.”

I’m looking forward to the 16th annual Arkansas Poll this fall. No matter what the political landscape, there are some important and interesting questions out there, and I know Janine Parry will be asking them.

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