First Advisor

J. Clark Archer

Date of this Version



Humphress, Glenn O. 2021. Votes and Voters in Time and Space: The Changing Landscape of Political Party Support in Kentucky, 1974-2020. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Geography, Under the Supervision of Professor J. Clark Archer. Lincoln, Nebraska: December 2021

Copyright © 2021 Glenn O. Humphress


This research examines the time-series geography of voter registrations, presidential elections, senatorial elections, and gubernatorial elections within Kentucky during the period from 1974 to 2020 to explore the dimensions of a changing geography of political party support. During this time Kentucky realigned from strong election support for the Democratic Party to consistent election support for the Republican Party. Using graphs, Dissimilarity Indices, cartographic analysis, and factor analysis, this study confirms aspects of intra-state sectionalism and periodization in election results identified in previous research but finds different characteristics of section and period in voter registrations. In effect this study finds support for separate considerations of ‘voter landscape’ and ‘vote landscape,’ thus providing an important extension of the body of research begun by Archer and Taylor (1981). This study provides additional information on the nature of time lags that exist between different statewide offices in when party support realignment occurs, and thus also extends the work of Webster (1996), as well as providing examples that offer insight into realignment models developed by Key (1955; 1959) and Sundquist (1983). Lastly, this study offers evidence that demographic changes are likely less influential than changes in electoral behavior to Kentucky’s recent realignment.

Advisor: J. Clark Archer