Rural Voters

Since 2004 the Center for Rural Strategies has produced the Rural Tracker, a national nonpartisan poll of rural voters in battleground states. The poll is deisgned to show how the opinions of rural voters help shape presidential and congressional races.

In recent elections, rural voters have been decisive. When Republican candidates run up big margins among rural voters, they win national elections. When Democrats decrease the Republican lead in rural areas, Democrats tend to win elections. These trends held true in the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections and in the 2006 midterm election for House and Senate.

Partners in the Rural Tracker have included the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation of New York, and the National Rural Assembly. The polls have been reported on NPR and other national and regional outlets.

Rural Tracker

The Rural Tracker, a poll of rural voters in swing states, is a project of the Center for Rural Strategies, a nonpartisan organization.


Rural Strategies and the National Rural Assembly commissioned three nonpartisan polls of rural voters in 2008:

(1) Rural battleground moved toward Obama during October (October 1-21, 2008) -- Obama led McCain 46% to 45%.

(2) McCain leads by 10 in rural battleground (September 16-18, 2008) -- McCain led Obama 51% to 41%.

(3) McCain leads Obama by 9 in rural battleground (May 13-15, 2008) --  McCain led Obama 50% to 41%.


2008 Presidential Election

The 2008 Election, State by State (Dec. 5, 2008) -- Obama won the 2008 election by running up large margins in the big cities, but within the states as a whole the story gets more complicated - winning the rural vote in only a dozen states.

Obama's Iowa Campaign (Jan. 23, 2009) -- A family newspaper offered the best seat in the house for viewing the 2008 election.

Counties that Flipped (Nov. 13, 2008) -- 375 counties voted for one party in the 2004 presidential election and a different party this year. The Yonder is keeping a list.

Speak Your Piece: The Election Seen from One Poll in Zanesville (Nov. 8, 2008) -- Ned Pillersdorf spent 30 hours listening to lawyers, arguing about boundaries and helping in the election of a new president.


For a complete list of articles, please visitRacing for 2008

2012 Presidential Election

 Finding the 'Flippers' in 2012 Vote (Jan. 2, 2013) -- This year, only 208 counties (6.8%) changed political party allegiances compared to on average of a 24% change - a 100 year low.

Rural Voter Turnout Drops 18% in 2012 (Nov. 29, 2012) -- Voter turnout dropped across the country in the 2012 election, but the decline in rural counties was twice that of the nation as a whole.

The 'Red' Rural Map of the 2012 Vote (Nov. 26, 2012) -- In more than 72% of rural and exurban counties, Mitt Romney won with more than 55% of the vote - a landslide in an anotherwise close election.


For a complete list of articles, please visit: Racing for 2012

2016 Presidential Election



...more to come...

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