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.