Political party strength in Arkansas Reflecting the state's large evangelical population, the state has a strong socially conservative bent. Wade is overturned. Democrats[ edit ] Since the late 19th century, Democrats have traditionally had an overwhelming majority of registered voters in the state.
At that time, they consolidated their power and achieved effective disfranchisement of African Americans and Republican voters by passage of the Election Law of and a poll tax amendment in , which also dropped many poor white Democrats from the rolls.
Together these also suppressed the coalition of Republican and farmer-labor parties, which had threatened the Democrats. Assessing fees to register and vote resulted in many poor people being dropped from voter rolls. The Election Law set up secret ballots and standardized ballots in progressive reforms that also made voting more complicated and effectively closed out illiterate voters.
It set up a state election board and officials, putting power into the hands of the Democratic Party, rather than county workers. Voter rolls declined for both black and white voters. By , there were no longer any African-American representatives in the state house. In the 20th and 21st centuries, Arkansas Democrats have tended to be more conservative than their national counterparts, particularly in areas outside metropolitan Little Rock.
Traditionally having strength in most areas outside the Northwest and North Central parts of the state, in the 21st century Democrats in Arkansas predominate along the Mississippi River in the East, in central Little Rock, and around Pine Bluff and the areas south of there along the Louisiana border. Republicans[ edit ] Historically Republicans in the state were based in the northwestern areas, long a supporter of the Unionist cause in the Civil War.
These were areas of yeomen farmers in the antebellum years. Planters and major slaveholders lived in the Delta area along the Mississippi River and tended to ally with the Democratic Party. As noted above, disenfranchisement of African Americans and consolidation of power by the Democrats left the Republicans nearly powerless. They concentrated on developing patronage positions.
House seat from this northwestern area, the first Republican from Arkansas to be elected to Congress since after Reconstruction. What was more surprising, that year multi-millionaire Winthrop Rockefeller was elected to the governorship. Rockefeller faced resistance from the conservative Democratic legislature. In the Democrats put up their own progressive candidate and defeated Rockefeller. Rockefeller died in , which weakened the emerging Republican Party.
It was before Ed Bethune was elected to Congress as the second Republican from the state; he served three terms from central Arkansas. In the latter area, Republicans have been known to get 90 percent or more of the vote. While the rest of the state used to be more Democratic, since the late 20th century Republicans have attracted members from the Little Rock suburbs, the southwest especially Texarkana , and the northeast around Jonesboro.
As an indication of increasing Republican strength in the state, he has been followed by the elections to the US Senate of Republicans John Boozman in and Tom Cotton in , giving the state all-Republican representation in the Senate.
History since [ edit ].