Racial attitudes and the "new South"

James H. Kuklinski, Michael D. Cobb, Martin Gilens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An abundance of survey research conducted over the past two decades has portrayed a "new South" in which the region's white residents now resemble the remainder of the country in their racial attitudes. No longer is the South the bastion of racial prejudice. Using a new and relatively unobtrusive measure of racial attitudes designed to overcome possible social desirability effects, our study finds racial prejudice to be still high in the South and markedly higher in the South than the non-South. Preliminary evidence also indicates that this prejudice is concentrated among white southern men. Comparison of these results with responses to traditional survey questions suggests that social desirability contaminates the latter. This finding helps to explain why the "new South" thesis has gained currency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-349
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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