Is Rural Support For The G.O.P. Slipping?
A just-published poll seems to indicate that rural America, long a bastion of Republican support, may be shifting away from the G.O.P. and toward the Democrats:
Twelve days before the midterm elections, Republican congressional incumbents are struggling to corral a key voter group -- rural residents. A new bipartisan poll indicates that Democrats now dominate rural voters, a critical part of the Republican base.There's much more to read in the whole thing.
The poll was conducted for the non-partisan Center for Rural Strategies, a Kentucky group working to attract attention to rural issues.
Five hundred likely rural voters were surveyed in 41 heavily contested congressional districts and six states with close Senate races. Most of the House districts surveyed have Republican incumbents. Fifty-two per cent of the respondents indicate they'll vote for Democratic congressional candidates; 39 percent say they'll support Republicans.
This is a dramatic shift from a similar poll conducted last month. At that time, the rural voters polled split the congressional vote evenly.
"This is not encouraging information for Republicans," says Bill Greener, the Republican political consultant who supervised and analyzed the bipartisan poll. "And I think that to pretend otherwise is not helpful."
The survey detected an eight-point shift in party preference for Senate candidates. Rural voters in Pennsylvania, Montana, Ohio, Missouri, Minnesota and Tennessee indicated they favored Democratic candidates 47 percent to 43 percent. That reverses the results in a similar poll last month.
Dissatisfaction with the way the war in being fought in Iraq and the economy were the most commonly given reasons for this shift in voting preferences.
Should the Republicans lose control of one or both houses of Congress, it would likely (to say the least) impede President Bush's efforts to renew the federal No Child Left Behind Act next year.