Warm Springs Ran Deep: Friends-and-Neighbors Voting in the U.S. Presidential Elections of 1940 and 1944

  •  Franklin Mixon    


The present study extends recent research on friends-and-neighbors voting in presidential elections by examining a unique situation occurring during the presidential elections of 1940 and 1944, both of which were won by incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt. What makes these elections unique is that Roosevelt, who grew up in Hyde Park, New York, contracted polio in 1921, and thereafter spent a large portion of his life in Warm Springs, Georgia, seeking the physical comfort provided by the magnesium-rich, warm-water pools. By the time these elections occurred, many Georgia citizens in and around Meriwether County, wherein Warm Springs is situated, viewed Roosevelt as one of their own. Statistical results from the 1940 and 1944 general elections presented in this study indicate that the home-area effect favoring Roosevelt in Meriwether and contiguous counties averaged a solid 7.8 percentage points across the two presidential elections. This result is even more striking when compared to the smaller home-area effect found for the Duchess County area of New York, which includes Roosevelt’s boyhood home of Hyde Park.

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