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History Made: The Rise of Republican Tim Scott

  • Scott H. Huffmon (a1), H. Gibbs Knotts (a2) and Seth C. McKee (a3)
Abstract

In a time of unprecedented racial polarization in partisan voting, and in a staunchly Republican Deep South state, one black Republican managed to reach the pinnacle of public office. This article examines Tim Scott’s rise by analyzing precinct-level data to better understand his 2010 election to the US House and data from the Winthrop Poll to explore his more recent US Senate victory. To better understand support for Scott, we also report results from an embedded-survey experiment to assess respondents’ favorability toward Scott when he is characterized by two different frames: (1) “Tea Party favorite,” and (2) “first African American Senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction.” We found that conservatives, evangelicals, and less-educated individuals respond more positively to Scott when he is described as a “Tea Party favorite.” More than an intriguing case study, Scott’s rise tells a broader story of the complicated relationships among race, ideology, and partisanship in the contemporary American South.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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