Ignorance, Fundamentalism, and Poverty IS still a problem in The South (and everywhere else too),
but it IS declining, especially among The Youth.
They watch Sat TV, and are "connected" through their SmartPhones and Computers,
even (or especially) out in the rural areas.
This has diluted the almost complete control that their Parents and Preachers enjoyed in the past.
My Wife & I moved from a Big Blue Northern City to a very rural area of West Arkansas in 2005,
and are very encouraged by the open-mindedness of young people we meet here.
If you Work for a Living, do NOT trust ANY politician who espouses a belief in Free Trade, Free Markets, or an Invisible Hand. NONE of those exist, and that politician is NOT your friend.