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The Rural Vote

There have been some signs that the rural vote might be a bit soft for Bush this year, given continuing economic problems and disenchantment with the war in Iraq. Now here is some hard evidence: a just-released poll of likely rural voters in swing states by the Center for Rural Strategies (CRS). The CRS poll finds these voters giving Bush a weak approval rating of just 52 percent, with 44 percent disapproval--a little better than he has fared lately in national polls certainly, as one would expect among rural voters, a group that has been famously sympathetic to Bush, but not terribly impressive. And only 43 percent of these voters think the country is going in the right direction, cmpared to 48 percent who feel it is off on the wrong track.

In terms of vote intention, these voters do tend to favor Bush (51-42), but this 9 point margin is not as wide as one would expect from these voters. For example, voters in this poll who reported voting in 2000 said they favored Bush in that electiion by 18 points (55-37).

There are times when you lose by not winning big. Bush in swing state rural areas in 2004 could be such a time. If his margin in those areas is shaved too much, he will not be able to make up the healthy deficits he is likely to run outside of rural areas in most of these states.

Comments

I've always wondered WHY the rural vote goes Republican. I have a friend in North Dakota who I went to school with for a while. He's a farmer, and that's all he really wants to be (although he is getting his medical degree) and NO ONE is stronger against Bush than he is. In fact, in all the time I've known him (some 7-8 years) he has been a staunch anti-Republican. He knews who will screw over farmers and rural people more...

So the whole rural going for Republican I just don't understand.

Kerry could win the rural vote by explaining the drop in farm prices in the 90s, which caused massive bankruptcy in farm states.

The drop in farm and commodity prices was caused by monetary deflation from mistakes by the Fed. This also led to the recession of 2001. I really wish Kerry's advisors would consider this explanation, which sidesteps the thorny tax riddle.

Why is the rural vote going Republican? Thomas Frank's new book -- "What's the Matter with Kansas?" -- has at least part of the answer.

Now the rural vote is lagging for Bush? Wow, first time I'd seen that one. Angry white men, both young and old, are already a problem for them (ala Howard Stern), shockingly, the military family's are going to 911 in droves, andthe christian fundamentalist voter is tuning out, not in.

Bush is in serious trouble.