Date of Award

12-2008

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Second Advisor

Dr. John Heppen,

Third Advisor

Dr. David Dickason,

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Edwin Martini

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The 1876 and 2000 U.S. Presidential elections were arguably the closest and most hotly-contested races in American history. In each election, the Republican candidate narrowly won in the Electoral College and his Democratic challenger won the popular vote. In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes, the Governor of Ohio, was elected over Samuel J. Tilden, the Governor of New York, by one vote in the Electoral College. George W. Bush, the Governor of Texas, was elected in 2000 over Al Gore, the sitting Vice- President, by five electoral votes.

This Master's Thesis summarizes the remarkable stories of these elections, including their similarities and differences. It explores various socio-economic and demographic factors that affected the popular vote at the county level in an eight-state region of the southeastern U.S. through the use of Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis. The purpose of the regression analysis is to determine which variables best explain the differences in the percentage vote for the Republican candidates. Other qualitative and quantitative factors that may have affected the percentage vote for the Republicans in each election not explained by the regression models, possible overriding reasons for the Republicans' electoral majorities, and some post-2000 electoral reforms are among the other topics discussed.

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