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Sectionalism, coalitions, and local -national politics: A geographical history of presidential and gubernatorial elections in North Dakota, 1889--2000

Robert Howard Watrel, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this research is to analyze the geographical voting patterns of North Dakota's presidential and gubernatorial elections from 1889 to 2000. Specifically, this dissertation examines whether voting patterns at the county-level for presidential and gubernatorial elections are geographically based and what patterns developed temporally and spatially over time; what variables, specifically—ethnicity, agriculture, and population differences—influenced voting patterns during the study period; and whether there are historical differences in voting patterns between presidential and gubernatorial elections. ^ T-mode and S-mode factor analyses are employed on county-level Republican voting returns to identify historical voting patterns. The T-mode factor identifies electoral epochs or normal vote periods. These normal vote periods are then subjected to correlation analyses with three different groups of variables—ethnicity, agriculture, and population—to determine their impact on voting patterns during these periods. The S-mode factor analysis identifies historical voting regions, which helps locate sectional partisan support. ^ The results of the T-mode factor analyses reveal four normal vote sequences and one deviating period for presidential elections from 1892 to 2000 and six normal vote periods and two deviating periods for gubernatorial elections from 1889 to 2000. The results of the S-mode analysis reveal four historical voting regions; central, eastern, western, and the Native American Factor, for presidential elections and five historical voting regions, eastern, northern tier, southwestern, central, and western periphery, for gubernatorial elections. ^ The results of the dissertation conclude that historical voting patterns are geographically based at the county-level. The findings also suggest that the three different groups of variables, ethnicity, agriculture, and population used in the correlation analyses with a Republican mean variable had varying degrees of influence in voting patterns for the different normal vote periods. Finally, the results indicate that there are spatial similarities between the historical voting regions identified in presidential and gubernatorial elections in North Dakota from 1889 to 2000. ^

Subject Area

History, United States|Geography|Political Science, General

Recommended Citation

Watrel, Robert Howard, "Sectionalism, coalitions, and local -national politics: A geographical history of presidential and gubernatorial elections in North Dakota, 1889--2000" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3022670.