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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Howell Heflin, July 9, 1974. Interview A-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Alabama voters are conservative and educated, despite the influence of television

Heflin describes Alabama voters as generally conservative and more educated than they used to be. Television has had a vast effect on politics, he believes.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Howell Heflin, July 9, 1974. Interview A-0010. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JACK BASS:
Did you get any surprises when you campaigned? I mean in terms of perception of Alabama voters and what they wanted and what was on their minds.
HOWELL HEFLIN:
[Mine was/wasn't an issue race.]
JACK BASS:
No, but you had to talk to a lot of voters and get out and campaign.
WALTER DE VRIES:
Were they different than you thought they were going to be?
HOWELL HEFLIN:
Oh, not much. They're basically pretty conservative in their approaches. I think they are prone to want to have progress to take place. We probably pushed them on our judicial article and judicial reform, but so far we haven't had a reaction against it. But it's been. . . they've gone a pretty good ways in supporting things like this whereas in the past they have not supported many constitutional amendments.
WALTER DE VRIES:
You think there's been a basic change in the voter then in the last ten or twenty years?
HOWELL HEFLIN:
I would think that the base. . . . Of course there's no doubt that the voter is better educated than he was twenty years ago or twenty-five years ago and he's coming along. What you run now. . . your percentage of people graduated from high school and go to college now. . . wasn't it 35-40 percent as opposed to 15-20 twenty-five, thirty years ago? A lot more blacks now in college and schools. I mean, they're better educated. And I think as a result times are changing and they are asking more questions. They are more intelligent in their voting than they used to be. Course I suppose they were then, but I wouldn't. . . . I would compare the basis. You can't say that education hasn't changed things. And the other factors of media, television. You got all of these media matters. Nobody really knows what's the effect of television. But television. . . they're on the scenes of what's happening and being there. What's happening in Washington, what's happening in the Supreme Court. They have to be more intelligent than they. . . . And I think as a result they are more knowledgeable about their vote than what they used to be. Last thirty years, or forty years, just changed life completely. Scientifically. You've had more advances than all the rest of the history of the world put together. And it's bound to get into the political processes to some degree.