Once again, rural America votes for Trump

Rural America was key to Donald Trump’s election in 2016 and rural voters backed him again this year, although by how much is unclear. An exit poll by Edison Research for the National Election Pool reported that 54 percent of small city or rural residents voted for Trump while urban and suburban voters favored Democrat Joe Biden.

However, the Daily Yonder said the president’s performance in Ohio, a battleground state, “looks a lot like 2016,” when Trump rolled up margins of 2-to-1 or even 3-to-1 in rural and small metro counties. Editor Tim Marema said it was remarkable how similar the results were between the two elections.

Four years ago, Trump had a 2-to-1 advantage in rural votes nationwide, which was decisive in his election. The rural-urban voting gap widened in 2012 and 2016, with counties becoming more Republican as they became more rural, as NPR and the Daily Yonder have reported.

The gap has led to complaints that Democrats were giving up on rural voters. Initiatives such as the One Country Project, led by two former Democratic senators from rural states, have attempted to restore the party’s connection with rural America. Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, an Iowan, was a prominent proponent for Biden with rural audiences. The rural-urban gap has also brought criticisms that Republicans have abandoned competing for votes in cities.

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