^ The hard R Little Rock suburbs are also bleeding into CD1, compounded with a D crash in the rural white vote.
It still of interest to me why this crash occurred exactly now
? Not in 1964, not in 1972, not even in 1994 or 2000. For decades, not years, conservative Arkansas rural white Democratic voters were content to send similar conservative Democrats to legislature, and, somewhat more moderate - to Washington (and they were not alone - in many parts of rural South we see similar dynamics). Then, suddenly - ..... I understand that for many southern rural whites Obama is an "anathema": "northern black urban elitist with outstanding education and connections", but is it "per se" enough?
It is a long-term trend that has been accelerated a bit. You had Clinton/gore in the nineties - which allowed for Democrats to be strong in Arkansas, but there was something of a turn to the Republicans in the South in 1994. Then the Democrats were in opposition in the Bush years, in which case the Democrats in the South and rural areas had more of a chance to promote their own identity rather than be identified with a President or a set of national policies - this was especially the case in 2006. But the growth in Southern Democrat presence in 2006 only partially reversed the ground they'd lost in the past decade. The backlash against Obama and the national Democratic party in 2010-2014 meant that there were fewer Blue Dogs in Congress, which compounded to make it even harder for Democrats due to a lack of presence in leadership in the region.