in 1994 categorized their Democratic House candidates as conservative. 5 This dropped among respondents from these districts in 1994 to just 18 percent. This change is quite notable given past research showing that voters are significantly more likely to split their tickets when they perceived little to no difference between their Democratic House candidate and the Republican opponent ( Frymer, Kim, and Bimes 1995). It is also telling that in the 15 southern districts that voted for Bush in 1988 and 1992 but reelected Democratic House members in 1994, the perception of their House members has remained considerably more conservative, (of these voters 45 percent perceived their House members as conservative).
One of the ironies of the Democratic party's losses in 1994 is that even with fewer southern Democratic House members than ever before, there are now more liberal Democratic House members from the region than at any time prior to 1992. The implementation since the 1990 Census of minority-majority House districts, districts created to include a majority of racial minority voters in order to comply with the Voting Rights Act, is largely responsible, and the representative styles of those serving African-American and Latino majorities have changed dramatically ( Grofman, Griffin, and Glazer 1994; Bullock 1994). The impact of these districts has extended beyond a collective change in voting scores among southern House members; the increased number of African-American representatives has significantly bolstered the influence of the Congressional Black Caucus as a legislative organization. After years of watching its legislative efforts from the margins of the Democratic party, the 38 members of the Caucus wielded considerable influence in the 103rd Congress on highly visible matters, such as the 1994 crime bill, President Clinton's Haitian policy, and important budget and deficit-reducing proposals.
Nonetheless, racially based redistricting is currently a popular explanation for the Democratic party's electoral losses in the South. It is argued that moderate white Democrats were defeated by Republican challengers in 1992 and 1994 because a sizeable number of their constituents were moved into newly created districts designed to provide safe majorities for African-American candidates ( Hill 1995). This has effectively divided the two parties in the region along quite stark racial lines. In Georgia, for example, Nathan Deal's switch to the Republican party after the 1994 election left the state with 8 Republican representatives, all of whom are white, and 3 Democratic representatives, all of whom are black.
To blame Democratic electoral defeats solely on minority-majority districts, however, is to neglect the ongoing transformation in southern white voting behavior. As the research in this chapter suggests, more and more white voters have been moving towards the Republican party for the last three decades. The significance of minority-majority districts on the electoral outcome of the 1994 elections is not just that the loss of black constituents left white Democratic incumbents vulnerable but that an influential Congressional Black Caucus inadvertently helped speed up the realigning process by aiding the passage of liberal