Monday, September 22, 2008

Another moment in the spotlight for rural voters

One of the rare bits of attention rural voters have enjoyed in the past year or so came this morning on NPR's Morning Edition in a Howard Berkes report headlined, "McCain Holds Lead with Rural Voters: Is it Enough?"
Here's the lede from the story, which focuses on a poll of rural voters in swing states:
A new survey of rural voters shows that Republican presidential hopeful John McCain has a 10-point lead among this key group. But 10 points in the nation's least populated and most remote places may not be enough to overcome Democrat Barack Obama's expected margins in the nation's cities.

The poll of 742 likely voters in rural counties in 13 tightly contested states has McCain ahead 51 percent to 41 percent.

"In this rural poll, you have McCain only winning by 10 points. That's a recipe for Obama winning this election," says Anna Greenberg, a Democratic pollster who was part of the bipartisan team that conducted the survey. "If you look at the national polls, Obama now has about an average of a two-point lead. Part of the reason that he has that lead is McCain isn't doing better in rural counties.

The story also makes the case that the rural vote matters, in part because large margins in rural counties propelled Bush to the White House and kept him there.

Read the rest here, including details of the methodology. The poll was commissioned by the Center for Rural Strategies.

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