Rural Voters Turning Purple

A new national bipartisan poll indicated that Democrats may now dominate rural voters, once an important segment of the Republican base, according to a new non-partisan poll conducted in late October for the Center for Rural Strategies, a Kentucky group working to attract attention to rural issues. Photobucket - Video and Image HostingFive hundred likely rural voters were surveyed in six states with close Senate races and 41 heavily contested congressional districts, including Colorado’s Third and Fourth Congressional Districts. Fifty-two per cent of the respondents indicated they will support Democratic congressional candidates; 39 percent say they’ll vote for Republicans.

A similar poll conducted in September indicated the rural voters polled would split their congressional vote evenly.

“This is not encouraging information for Republicans,” said Bill Greener, the Republican political consultant who supervised and analyzed the bipartisan poll. “And I think that to pretend otherwise is not helpful.”

Rural voters were assumed to be core electorate for Republicans, according to Greenberg. But, the poll found Democrats more enthusiastic about supporting their candidates.

The War in Iraq is part of the problem for Republicans. After one of the bloodiest months for American troops, sixty percent of the respondents supported a withdrawal of American troops by next year and thirty-eight percent said Iraq was a main concern. The economy was also a key issue, especially gas prices.

But, politics is always local: half of those surveyed didn’t blame problems on their incumbent member of congress and in most of the districts surveyed in the poll had Republican incumbents.

Graph by Center for Rural Strategies