Social Survey of the South (1992)

Date          Tue, 13 Jul 1993 02 39 57 -0600                                   
Reply-To:     H-Rural Rural & Agricultural History discussion                   
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              <H-RURAL@UICVM.BITNET>                                            
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              <H-RURAL@UICVM.BITNET>                                            
From:         RICHARD JENSEN <CAMPBELLD@APSU.BITNET>                            
Subject:      did the South ever modernize? 1992 results                        

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Date:         Tue, 13 Jul 1993 02:40:38 -0600                                   
Reply-To:     H-Rural Rural & Agricultural History discussion                   
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              <H-RURAL@UICVM.BITNET>                                            
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              <H-RURAL@UICVM.BITNET>                                            
From:         RICHARD JENSEN <CAMPBELLD@APSU.BITNET>                            
Subject:      did the South ever modernize? 1992 results                        
                                                                                
   From:         JREED <JREED.IRSS@MHS.UNC.EDU>                                 
   Subject:      Southern Focus Poll #2                                         
                                                                                
                           THE SOUTHERN FOCUS POLL                              

Based on telephone intereviews with 819 adults in 13 Southern states, in March and April of 1992; with comments by John Shelton Reed.

Among Southerners, the Southern accent is even more popular than 35 years ago, but many still believe it's a handicap.



Do you like the Southern accent?

Yes No DK

(N) GALLUP POLL (1957) 68 14 18

(402)

SOUTHERN FOCUS POLL (1992) 82 11 7

(818)

John Shelton Reed, Director of the Institute for Research in Social Science: "The 1957 sample is pretty small, but it certainly looks as if there's been a change. Of course, the South has changed, too. Our economy has improved, our race relations are better -- it may be that what a Southern accent brings to mind these days is even more positive than it used to be, for Southerners, anyway."

In 1992 the Southern accent was more popular among:

        whites (85%)                                                            
        those who identify themselves as Southerners (89%)                      
        life-long residents of the South (88%)                                  
        residents of non-metropolitan counties (84%)                            
        those with high-school educations or less (87%)                         

There were no significant differences by age, sex, subregion (Deep South vs. peripheral South), or income.



Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: These days, speaking with a Southern accent is often a drawback.

        Agree                       30%                                         
        Disagree                    59                                          
        Depends (volunteered)        8                                          
        Don't know, No Answer        2        (N = 818)                         

The accent was more likely to be seen as a drawback by

        nonwhites (40%)                                                         
        those who do not identify themselves as Southerners (38%)               
        residents of metropolitan counties (34%)                                
        migrants to the South (36%)                                             
        the college-educated (35%)                                              
        women (33%)                                                             
        respondents under 45 years old (34%)                                    

There were no significant differences by subregion (Deep South vs. peripheral South), or income.


From the Southern Focus Poll, spring 1992:

SOUTHERNERS BELIEVE RACIAL CHANGE "MOST IMPORTANT"

"What do you think has been the most important change in the South in your lifetime?"

   36%            changes in race relations                                     
   14%            economic development                                          
    4%            Northerners moving in                                         
    3%            improved education                                            
    1% or fewer   more crime, drugs                                             
                  changes in the environment (better or worse)                  
                  liberalization of attitudes, etc.                             
                  changes in the role of women                                  
   11%            other                                                         
   11%            don't know                                                    


The percent naming race relations was higher among high-income respondents (50% of those from households with income over $60,000), blacks (44%), those who lived outside the South at age 16 (41%), respondents from the Deep South (43%), and the well-educated (46% of college graduates.

Women and young people were less likely to have an opinion. Among those who did, however, women were more likely than men to pick race relations as the biggest change, and young people were more likely than older ones to do so.

Men and older respondents were more likely than women and the young to mention economic growth.

Migrants to the South were more than twice as likely as native Southerners (7% vs. 3%) to say that the most important change has been Northerners moving to the South.


Reed: "I wouldn't argue with the proposition that changes in race relations have been the most important changes for the South. To some degree, they've made most of the other changes possible."



"Overall, what kind of effect do you think racial integration has had on the quality of life in the South? Has integration generally had a positive effect, a negative effect, or hasn't it made much difference?"

                                            Not much                            
             Positive       Negative       difference     Don't                 
                                                          know                  
                                                                                
   White       48%             19              29              4                
   Black       48%             15              35              2                

Asked whether those changes have been for the better or the worse, Southerners are nearly three times as likely to say they've been for the better.

Reed: "It's interesting that there's not much difference between the responses of black and white Southerners to that question."


Subject: Southern Focus Poll #3

                               THE SOUTHERN FOCUS POLL                          
                        Southerners Reconciled to Appomattox                    
            Secessionist movements around the world leave U.S.                  
                untroubled                                                      

"Do you agree or disagree that: If it could be done without war, the South would be better off as a separate country today."

   TOTAL DISAGREE         86%         Strongly disagree                         
                                        62.7                                    
                                       Disagree                                 
                                        17.8                                    
                                       Slightly disagree                        
                                        5.9                                     
   NOT SURE                 5          Not sure                                 
                                        5.2                                     
                                       Slightly agree                           
                                        2.7                                     
                                       Agree                                    
                                        2.3                                     
   TOTAL AGREE              8          Strongly agree                           
                                        3.4                                     

Six out of seven do not agree that the South would be better off if it seceded today; most of them disagree "strongly." Only one in twelve agrees (five percent aren't sure). Agreement was lower in the peripheral South (7%), among migrants to the region (5%), whites (7%), the college-educated (5%), those with incomes over $40,000 (5%), and those over 65 years of age (6%).


"Do you agree or disagree that: The South would be a lot better off if it had won the War Between the States."

   TOTAL DISAGREE          66%                                                  
                                       Strongly disagree                        
                                        37.9                                    
                                       Disagree                                 
                                        17.9                                    
                                       Slightly disagree                        
                                        9.9                                     
   NOT SURE                18          Not sure                                 
                                        17.5                                    
                                       Slightly agree                           
                                        5.3                                     
                                       Agree                                    
                                        5.2                                     
   TOTAL AGREE             17          Strongly agree                           
                                        6.3                                     

Two-thirds do not agree that the South would be better off if it had won; more than half of those "strongly" disagree. The other third are evenly split between 17 percent who agree and 18 percent who aren't sure. Agreement was lower in the peripheral South (15%), among migrants to the region (10%), whites (15%), men (15%), those over 65 (10%), the college-educated (13%), and those with incomes over $40,000 (13%).

-John Shelton Reed, director of the Institute for Research in Social Science: "Even these numbers probably overstate the support for Southern Independence. Apparently many people hadn't given much thought to these questions before we asked them, and some of those who gave us opinions were just trying to be obliging. When that happens people are more likely to agree than to disagree, just to be polite. I think that's behind some odd patterns in the data, like the fact that blacks are somewhat more likely than whites to agree."

Why is there so little support? Reed: "Only 4% of these respondents disagreed with the statement, 'All things considered, the United States is the best country in the world to live in.' It may be ironic, but by most measures the South is now the most patriotic region of the country."

Can we stop saving our Confederate money? Reed: "Obviously public opinion has something to do with the growth of secessionist movements, but it's not the only factor. In 1962, a survey of French-Canadian citizens of Quebec showed only 8% in favor of the separation of Quebec from Canada. Look what's happened there in 30 years." (Source: Maurice Pinard, The Rise of a Third Party [Montreal,1975])


Based on telephone interviews with 819 adults in 13 Southern states, in March and April of 1992. Margin of error is +3.5%, larger for comparisons between groups. The Southern Focus Poll is conducted twice a year by the Institute for Research in Social Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in cooperation with the Center for the Study of the American South. For information about the poll, call Dr. Beverly Wiggins at (919) 966-2350.


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Posted: 15 Jul 1994
 

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