Background to the U.S. Census: Expert Available to Discuss Demographic Changes in the South

Newswise — As the U.S. Census Bureau releases figures from the 2010 census, political scientist Todd Shields of the University of Arkansas is available to discuss findings from the 2010 Blair-Rockefeller Poll that offer insight into changing U.S. demographics. The poll revealed uneven economic hardships across race and region and shifting support for the Democratic Party among American elderly.

“To the extent to which the Democratic Party has lost support from one of its most traditional core groups, changing party support among the elderly has dramatic implications for the 2012 presidential election and American politics more generally,” Shields said.

“While overall, the public continues to be pessimistic about the economy, there are substantial differences across regions and racial groups. While the majority of poll respondents reporter their financial situation was about the same as last year, 25 percent of Southern whites reported they were better off last year, compared to 17 percent of non-Southern whites,” Shields said.

Shields is director of the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas.

The Blair-Rockefeller Poll was created by political scientists Todd Shields, Pearl Ford Dowe, Angie Maxwell and Rafael Jimeno of the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society at the University of Arkansas. With over 3,400 respondents, the poll has a national scope as well as ample sampling of such traditionally under-polled groups as African-Americans and Latinos. Additionally, by addressing topics that have been little studied, the poll allows researchers to identify socio-cultural influences on political values throughout the country with an emphasis on the South. The Blair Center partner s with the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute to produce the Blair-Rockefeller Poll.

The Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society was established in 2001 by an act of the U.S. Congress and named in honor of political scientist Diane Divers Blair, who taught for 30 years in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas. The center studies the American South from a variety of angles to reveal the undercurrents of politics, history and culture that have shaped the region over time. For more information about the Blair Center, visit blaircenter.uark.edu or contact director Todd Shields at [email protected]

The University of Arkansas System established the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute in 2005 with a grant from the Winthrop Rockefeller Charitable Trust. Based on the legacy and ideas of former Arkansas Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, this educational institute and conference center offers workshops, seminars, public lectures, conferences and special events. Program areas include agriculture and environment, arts and humanities, economic development, and policy and public affairs. For more information about the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, visit LiveTheLegacy.org or contact program director Susan Dumas at [email protected].

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