The population of the district is fairly evenly distributed with a large number of small-to-medium-sized cities spread throughout the district. The presence of Fort Rucker in Dale County and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery County imbues the district with a heavy military leaning. The district is home of Troy University, one of the largest providers of education to active military members in the country.
White voters here were among the first in Alabama to shift from the Democratic Party; the old-line Southern Democrats in this area began splitting their tickets as early as the 1950s. Today, the district is one of the most Republican districts in both Alabama and the nation. It has only supported a Democrat for president once since 1956, when Jimmy Carter carried it in 1976. In 2008, the district elected a Democrat to Congress for the first time since 1964, but it reverted to its Republican ways in 2010. At the state and local level, however, conservative Democrats continued to hold most offices as late as 2002.
White voters gave John McCain, the Republican candidate, 63.42% of the vote in 2008; Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, received 36.05%, attracting voters beyond the substantial (and expected) African-American minority.
The district gives its congressmen very long tenures in Washington; only six people have represented it since 1923.
As of April 2015[update], there are two former members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Alabama's 2nd congressional district that are currently living. The most recent representative to die was William Louis Dickinson (1965-1993) on March 31, 2008.