Saturday, September 23, 2006


Rural voters

Via Taegarden, an interesting new "bipartisan" poll looks at rural voters in areas having competitive U.S Senate and congressional races. Among those tracked are the Senate race in Ohio plus the OH-2 , OH-6 and OH-6 contests. The metrics are fascinating but - but like a lot of "bi-partisan polls" the conclusions are faulty and a pained patchwork:
Democrats and Republicans are splitting rural voters evenly.

This year, the war in Iraq, the economy and the war on terrorism dominate the issue landscape in rural America. Nearly three-quarters of rural voters know someone serving or who has served in Iraq and a majority rural voters favor a plan to pull out of Iraq in the next year. They also, by a significant margin, believe the country economy is improving mainly for the wealthy. Democrats edge out Republicans among the voters most concerned about Iraq and economy.

At the same time, while President Bush’s approval ratings continue to be low among Americans as a whole, his standing among rural voters is somewhat better. Republicans are strongly advantaged among voters who are most concerned about the war on terrorism, one of the three dominant issues in rural areas. Just as rural voters shifted late in the election cycle towards Bush, away from Kerry, it is still possible that Republicans can regain their traditional advantage among rural voters.
The comment that Republicans have a strong advantage on the terrorism issue is unsubstantiated, and the part of the poll overview on terrorism questions is the least detailed. We suspect that they realized they a a bogey in their methodology in this block of questions and are trying to cobble some sort of conclusions together that sound possible. But, the authors are even forced to hedge their bets.
It is likely that the Republican edge here balances rural voters’ concerns about the war in Iraq and may preclude broad electoral gains.
Aside from that, the poll shows that rural voters are pretty much like other voters. The ranked their concerns in this order:
It's also worth reading the data (versus the authors pained explanation) on "moral values" versus the economy.


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