100 Day Sprint: Rural voters keep Romney afloat

Graphic: NPR. Click for larger version.

If small town America were deciding this year’s presidential contest, it would be no contest at all.  According to a new poll released today, Mitt Romney holds a 14-point lead over Barack Obama among rural voters in nine swing states.

54% of rural voters in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin favored the Republican.  Obama drew only 40%.

That means Romney is faring 4 points better than John McCain at the same period four years ago.  Obama’s support in small town battleground communities has dropped more than 6 points.

Republican Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies helped design the survey.  In a statement, he said that Obama’s challenge “is just not to get beat too badly in the rural areas.

“This presages a very close election because, as well as Obama did in the rural areas in 2008, he’s clearly not replicating that.”

Democrat Greenberg agreed. “Rural areas in this country are very tough for President Obama,” she said. “It was tough four years ago and they’re even tougher now. I think that that is obviously important in a very close presidential race because it’s really Mitt Romney’s geographic base.”

Rural voters will also be key in the GOP’s effort to retake a majority in the US Senate.  In states like Missouri and Virginia, small towns are tilting heavily toward Republican candidates.

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51 Comments on “100 Day Sprint: Rural voters keep Romney afloat”

  1. Larry says:

    Nobody ever accused Obama of being a bad politician. His strategy for re-election seems to be working, so far. Too bad being a good candidate is his only accomplishment.

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  2. Pete Klein says:

    Are we talking about rural America or lily white America?

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  3. Larry says:

    Candidate or Statesman? Fascinating article in today’s NY Times about Tom Donilon, Obama Foreign Policy advisor, who is keeping an eye on world events “so Mr. Obama can focus on Mitt Romney rather than Benjamin Netanyahu.” And that, friends, is the problem with Obama in a nutshell. You actually have to BE President, not run for it, not blame your predecessor, not promise endlessly. There comes a time when one must actually deliver. Obviously, Obama hasn’t come to that time yet.

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  4. oa says:

    What Larry said: We need to focus nearly exclusively on Netanyahu and do whatever he says.

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  5. Walker says:

    Larry, presidents occasionally have advisers who play an important role in their administration. I know, when Obama does it, it’s terrible. But it does happen.

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  6. PNElba says:

    Larry – its almost as if the Bush II presidency never happened for you. Did Bush have someone in the White House that ran a 24/7 campaign for him? Maybe Karl Rove?

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  7. Kathy says:

    Unfortunately, President Obama could not focus on the Libyan embassy terrorist attack either – and thought it more important to show up on Letterman. I would have thought more of him if he halted all “campaigning” for 3 days and led the country in a time of serious mourning at the torture, abuse, and murder of Chris Stevens.

    Foreign policy – fail.

    Leadership – fail.

    Common sense – fail.

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  8. Kathy says:

    Huh. President Obama seemed to have alot of say with all his executive orders.

    Regarding him and Israel – he is well versed with the Muslim countries. Not so well versed with Jewish history, though.

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  9. Right Larry, because Israel is the 51st and most important state in the US.

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  10. Romney is an American. Netanyahu is not. So now we’re condemning an American president for not focusing more on foreigners than on Americans? The shallow partisanship never stops.

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  11. Mervel says:

    Rural America is becoming politically irrelevant.

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  12. Brian Mann says:

    Mervel – This poll shows exactly the opposite. Rural America is keeping the Republican nominee in the presidential race. That’s not irrelevant.

    –Brian, NCPR

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  13. Rural America is politically irrelevant? Is that why there was a national push for more corn-based ethanol in gasoline? Even though the result of this insane policy of using good food for fuel was a worldwide rise in food prices that severely affected poorer countries. I’m sure that had nothing to do with the fact that the first contest of the presidential season is in the state of Iowa, which produces some yellow food crop whose name eludes me…

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  14. Paul says:

    Wow, people are really fired up today.

    Sure you have to use advisers.

    But I did think that it was a fair question when someone asked the presidents spokesman why he had time to be on the View but he did not have time to meet with the Israeli prime minister at what looks like a very crucial time in Mid East affairs.

    I thought the president asking if Romney “wants to start another war” was a silly response for the president. Making sure that Israel does not need to bomb Iran is the only way to prevent another war. Keep snubbing them and they may feel like they have no choice. The only way to prevent war in that part of the world is to have a very firm posture. The US putting adds on TV condemning some you tube video that almost nobody has seen does not seem to be the best way to present yourself from a position of strength. But I am sure the president and his team know what they are doing. At least I hope they do.

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  15. Paul says:

    “Is that why there was a national push for more corn-based ethanol in gasoline?”

    No, that was a policy to increase renewable energy production and to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

    It was (and still is) a terrible idea. But the act that authorized it had some very good provisions related to increasing the development of alternative energy sources. It was passed by a republican lead house and senate and signed by that wacko environmentalist George Bush.

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  16. It's Still All Bush's Fault says:

    “But I did think that it was a fair question when someone asked the presidents spokesman why he had time to be on the View but he did not have time to meet with the Israeli prime minister at what looks like a very crucial time in Mid East affairs.”

    The easy answer is that the View has better ratings.

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  17. dbw says:

    “But I did think that it was a fair question when someone asked the presidents spokesman why he had time to be on the View but he did not have time to meet with the Israeli prime minister at what looks like a very crucial time in Mid East affairs.”

    The answer may be that there is much more to this than the public knows. Most of diplomacy occurs out of public view. The administration may have very good reasons not to meet with the Israeli prime minister that this time.

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  18. Peter Hahn says:

    “Rural People” as a group have been socially conservative for a long time (maybe forever). The mystery might be why the white ones voted for Obama in such high numbers last time out. Probably the rural economy was bad so they were voting against the incumbent. It is bad now and they are voting against the incumbent again.

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  19. Mervel says:

    I said becoming irrelevant. Look at the various electoral college counts Brian has been posting. The fact is rural America is shrinking, becoming older and less diverse, even with Romney heavily winning this market, he still trails and has been shown trails quite a bit electorally which is all that matters.

    Certainly in things like the Republican Primaries some of these small rural states are important (which is why maybe the primaries are important), but in the large scale of things, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, are not rural states anymore and the vote within those states will be decided in the urban areas.

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  20. Mervel says:

    In 2010, 80% of the US population lived in an Urban area.

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  21. Pete Klein says:

    What does Netanyahu have to do with the rural vote?
    I strong doubt Israel is stupid enough to attack Iran. If they are dumb enough, I wouldn’t lift a finger to help them.

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  22. Gary says:

    Pete; Not sure what your point is? Are you playing the “race” card? I don’t think like a democrat so help me out!

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  23. Peter Hahn says:

    Netanyahu is meddling in US politics and trying to play the election. I wouldnt talk to him either if I were president (and I have lots of Israeli relatives).

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  24. Pete Klein says:

    Gary,
    Not playing the race card. Just stating a fact that a higher percent of whites will vote for Romney and a higher percent of non-whites will vote for Obama.
    I think it would be odd if it were otherwise.
    As to the future, I look to the past. There was a time when Germans married Germans, French married French, Catholics married Catholics, and Protestants married Protestants. Now, hardly anyone cares about those designations. In the future, the same will happen to race. We are a melting pot and we will become more so. Then and only then will race not matter. This process is happening much more rapidly in urban areas than in rural areas. In time, the rural areas will succumb or will continue to depopulate and go by the wayside.

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  25. dbw says:

    Rural areas are changing too. If I am not mistaken President Obama was very competitive in NNY in 2008. I am sure that is true of other rural areas as well. Also, Pete is right about attitudes towards race changing too. It is much less of an issue with twenty somethings and thirty somethings compared to older voters.

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  26. Mervel says:

    Pete what does Israel have to lose in attacking a country who has a leader who already said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map? The best way to do that would be with Nuke’s. The question is not how dumb is Israel; the question is how dumb is Iran?

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  27. Larry says:

    OK, so we have got the obligatory Bush-bashing comment out of the way and the lunatic fringe has been heard from as well.

    Like it or not, we are inextricably linked with Israel, at least in the minds of our enemies. Iran is a large, dangerous, strategically placed country on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. Their stated objective is to eliminate Israel, and they’re not too happy with us either. I doubt Netanyahu wants to discuss the election; he’s probably preoccupied with survival. Where’s Obama? Taping “The View”! There’s no way to spin that one: it’s a tragic example of poor leadership. You can hate on Israel all you want, make imbecilic comments about them being the 51st state and stick your head in the sand about Iran but none of it can disguise the fact that we have a candidate, not a President.

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  28. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    The question is how dumb is everybody? If Israel attacks Iran, Iran assumes the US cleared the attack and retaliates against both Israel and the US. But the form of retaliation may come in ways and in places that are unexpected, as well as the many expected ways that a war with Iran would get lots of innocent people killed.

    I am prepared to support the defense of Israel against attack. Retaliation becomes a more difficult question. Are we prepared to wage a war more massive and difficult than the Iraq War if it can be avoided? It is good for Netanyahu to cool his heels a little and think about his actions.

    I, for one, don’t appreciate the idea of an Ally ready to pick a fight that will end in lots of American blood being spilled needlessly.

    Fortunately Obama seems to be an adult in the room.

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  29. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Larry: “lunatic fringe has been heard from as well.”

    What did we used to say in 3rd grade? Takes one to know one?

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  30. Larry says:

    KHL,
    You can’t retaliate after you’ve been nuked. Iran has sworn to eradicate Israel and if Israel doesn’t act first, they will. “Obama seems to be an adult in the room.” Which room would that be? The studio where they tape “The View”?

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  31. PNElba says:

    Larry -

    Just where did any Bush bashing occur in this thread? Can anyone even mention G.W. Bush’s name without you claiming Bush-bashing?

    Why are conservatives always playing the victim card. Doesn’t matter whether they are in power or out of power, they are always the victims.

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  32. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Larry, Saddam Hussein said he had weapons of mass destruction that he didn’t have. The Iranians have said they have stealth submarines. Sometimes leaders of dictatorial regimes say things that aren’t true, for all kinds of reasons.

    Iran is a signatory to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation. Israel, Pakistan, India, and North Korea are not. Iran has made a commitment to the world community to not acquire a nuclear bomb. Israel has the bomb but wont admit it. India and Pakistan have the bomb. North Korea may well have the bomb.

    It is likely that Iran is working to get all the components necessary for a bomb without actually assembling one in order to create a credible deterrent against attack, not as a weapon to use in a pre-emptive strike because a pre-emptive strike would mean certain annihilation of Iran by the US and others.

    We are in a very difficult position with Iran. We need to get international inspection teams into their nuke sites to assess the progress they’ve made and there needs to be international pressure to make them comply with their obligations as a Treaty signatory. Threats of attack by Israel are unlikely to help, but will more likely make Iran more intractable on the issue.

    What needs to happen is a ratcheting down of tensions, perhaps some small showing of good faith from one side. I have a crazy idea that just might work: we could start reconciliation talks with Cuba.

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  33. Larry says:

    “I have a crazy idea”

    The only crazy idea you have, KHL, is that the Iranians might actually be trustworthy.

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  34. Larry says:

    PNElba,
    You keep mentioning Bush and not in flattering terms. What would you call your obsession with a former President? Give it up already; the Bush Presidency ended almost four years ago. On the other hand, I can see why nobody wants to see Obama judged on his record: he doesn’t really have one.

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  35. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Larry, try bringing some facts to an argument sometime. Otherwise you’re just a blathering troll. No, forget “otherwise”; you’re just a blathering troll.

    I’m really sick of you misrepresenting what I say. I didn’t say the Iranians were trustworthy and you might know that if you could read with any degree of comprehension. You either can’t understand a written sentence or you are once again bearing false witness. You are on a short road to Hell. Repent Sinner.

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  36. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    KHL:

    “Sometimes leaders of dictatorial regimes say things that aren’t true, for all kinds of reasons.”

    Idiot!

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  37. Larry says:

    And you objected to my use of the term “lunatic fringe”.

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  38. Larry says:

    “Iran has made a commitment to the world community to not acquire a nuclear bomb.”

    Do you trust them, KHL?

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  39. mervel says:

    Well, we all know that Iran is going to get a nuclear weapon. Pakistan has several, North Korea has several, these are both countries that hate us at least as much as Iran does if not more.

    The plan should be how do we handle that fact? I think we could indeed contain a nuclear Iran. The fact is Iran is not totally crazy, they have leaders that want to be in power, they have oil they want to sell, if they ever actually used a nuclear weapon against Israel or us, we would destroy them, there would be no contest, and they know that.

    But we have more important things to worry about frankly.

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  40. Brian Mann says:

    larry, khl – knock it off. you guys know how to do this well. take a walk. think. listen. no name-calling, not here. come back when you want conversation.

    brian, ncpr

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  41. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Brian, you forgot “read”.

    I believe that Larry has proven again and again that he will not read what is written. Does it not seem ridiculous to have to quote yourself in answer to a question? Do I not write in plain English?

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  42. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    KHL:
    “We need to get international inspection teams into their nuke sites to assess the progress they’ve made and there needs to be international pressure to make them comply with their obligations as a Treaty signatory.”

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  43. tootightmike says:

    It was probably good to focus on the election instead of the most belligerent state in the mid-east. Israel’s problems are mostly self generated, and all of the trouble and fuss they generate should get only so much attention here.

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  44. tootightmike says:

    Back to the topic at hand, The only reason the rural vote matters at all is that rural folks vote at a higher rate than city folks. If only the entire population took our elections seriously, we could have a truly representative and effective government.
    What can we do? Make sure that everyone you know is registered. Make sure they are listening, and that they vote…actually vote and not just bitch about it.
    Polite folks seem afraid to talk about politics(not here), but it’s important to let others know what you think, what’s important or worrisome, and what ideas you have for the direction of our country. THINK, and don’t wait to be spoon fed the party line via sound bites. Do what you can to move us all in a positive and progressive direction, and ignore the angry hate mongers, turn off the bull generators, and think.

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  45. Walker says:

    “I doubt Netanyahu wants to discuss the election; he’s probably preoccupied with survival. Where’s Obama? Taping “The View”! There’s no way to spin that one: it’s a tragic example of poor leadership.”

    The mistake Netanyahu has made is to believe he can go over the head of President Obama. He has tried through Congress, where his speech last year earned 29 standing ovations. He has greeted Romney in Israel as if he were on a state visit. He has said those “who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.” He has given critical interviews on U.S. TV networks in the midst of a presidential campaign. And he hath protested far too much that he has no intention — none — of swaying the outcome.

    Some adjectives that come to mind are: brazen, reckless and irrational. Another is disingenuous: Obama has set a clear red line on Iran — he will not permit Iran to become a nuclear-armed state.

    The president is angry. Not surprising that he has no time to meet with Netanyahu during his post-Yom Kippur visit to the United States this week for the United Nations General Assembly. (NYT:Netanyahu’s Iran Blunders)

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  46. PNElba says:

    Larry –

    Again, I want to learn. Please show me where I mentioned Bush in unflattering terms? Did he or did he not have a political advisor (Karl Rove) in the White House? Is that unflattering? Have you ever mentioned President Obama in flattering terms? I have no problem with that unless you are being dishonest. If I criticize Presdent Bush, I at least try to do it honestly and based on facts.

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  47. Larry says:

    Actually, PNElba, I did give Obama credit for pulling the trigger on OBL, and in the same post I criticized Clinton and Bush for not being able to bring down OBL. I don’t think Obama has done much but I do give credit where it’s due. I’ll stop talking about him in the context of current events as soon as he’s no longer current.

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  48. tootightmike says:

    After Mr Obama’s second term, he’ll probably be as perennial as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton…Larry will be old by then.
    The one I’m tired of hearing from is that guy who ran with Palin. He passed from relevance 10 years ago, but the media folks keep calling him up to see what the loser’s thinking about this month.

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  49. PNElba says:

    “I don’t think Obama has done much but I do give credit where it’s due.”

    I’m sure you must mean you don’t like what Obama has accomplished. He has actually accomplished alot.

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