Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rural voter as conservative voter, and vice versa

That seems to me the gist of this story by Jack Healy in today's NYT.  Here's an excerpt from the story, titled "In Wyoming, Conservatives Feeling Left Behind."
By now, voters here are over the initial shock. The ranchers, businessmen and farmers across this deep-red state who knew, just knew that Americans would never re-elect a liberal tax-and-spender president have grudgingly accepted the reality that voters did just that. 
But since the election, a blanket of baffled worry has descended on conservatives here like early snow across the plains, deepening a sense that traditional, rural and overwhelmingly white states in the center of the country are losing touch with an increasingly diverse and urban American electorate. 
* * *  
Still, if diversity is the future of American politics, conservatives in places like Wyoming, the least populous state, where 86 percent of residents are white, fear they may be sliding into the past.
While Healy mentions that Wyoming has many rural voters, he does not specify that it is, in fact, one of the most "rural" of U.S. states--as that term is used by the U.S. Census Bureau. More than 37% of the population is rural if you use the population cluster of 2,500 as the threshold for urbanicity, but it is 58% rural is you use 10,000 as the population cluster measure, and nearly 90% rural is you use 50,000 as your population cluster cutoff.  Here's the relevant U.S. Census Bureau webpage with all this information, also regarding population density.

For full coverage of the rural vote in the 2012 Presidential election, head over to the Daily Yonder.

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