THE PREVIOUS CHAPTERS DEMONSTRATED THAT REPUBLICAN EFFORTS IN the South have generally followed the outlines of the top-down advancement process and that political obstacles such as the Republicans' past efforts in an area and the Democrats' incumbency advantage tend to define the lack of Republican subnational advancement. While suggestive, these analyses did not directly assess the effects of national and statewide Republican successes on GOP subnational advancement or the extent to which the GOP's Southern Strategy successfully appends Old South regions to the New South Republican strongholds. Estimating the direct effects of this top- down advancement process on GOP subnational advancement provides a better understanding of the split-level nature of the party system between 1968 and 1989 and helps to delineate the possible future of Republican top- down advancement efforts in the 1990s. Thus, what remains is to build a model of top-down Republican subnational advancement to provide a clear picture of Southern Republican subnational advancement.
From a theoretical perspective, top-down advancement is a rational process. When the Republican party is undeveloped in a jurisdiction, the best indicator of possible Republican support in lower-tier offices is the extent of support for upper-tier offices. Thus the Southern Republican parties develop in the South based on the ability of top-level candidates to win votes in an area. The primary question in this chapter: To what extent is Republican subnational advancement tied to the votes for Nixon and Reagan? (Note: Goldwater and Bush are excluded because of the lack of data covering those years.)