Kevin Phillips, a self-taught ethnographer whose groundbreaking findings in the mid-1960s heralded what he called an “emerging Republican majority” in national politics, based on a so-called Southern strategy that would help the party win five of the next six presidential elections, died on Monday in Naples, Fla. He was 82.

His wife, Martha Phillips, said the cause of death, in a hospice near his home, was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Mr. Phillips was in his late 20s when he published his first book, “The Emerging Republican Majority” (1969), which, refining earlier studies he had done, predicted a rightward realignment in national politics driven by ethnic and racial divisions and white discontent.

With that book, he emerged as an influential, if controversial, conservative theoretician. (He called himself a “political analyst,” not a strategist.) He would be credited with predicting and even masterminding the Southern strategy, which in large part enabled Richard M. Nixon to narrowly win the presidency in 1968 by appealing to the grievances of white voters in the South who had historically voted for Democrats. (Nixon said he did not read the book until after the election.

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