Politics and Elections: Rural Voters Help Clinton Secure Nomination

Hillary Clinton became the first woman to win the democratic presidential nomination last night after winning four states, including winning the rural vote in New Mexico and South Dakota.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won most of the contests Tuesday night in the Democratic presidential primary, and that included taking a majority of rural voters in New Mexico and South Dakota.

Clinton beat Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Jersey, South Dakota, New Mexico and California. Sanders won in Montana and in caucuses in North Dakota.

Throughout most of the long Democratic contest, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has taken most of the rural vote. And last night Sanders captured a majority of the vote outside the cities in California and Montana.

In California, Sanders won 60 percent of the vote in counties with towns between 10,000 and 50,000 people – so-called micropolitan counties. He won 52 percent of the vote in the rural counties with no town larger than 10,000.

(See the charts below for a breakdown of Tuesday’s vote between metropolitan counties, micropolitan counties and rural counties in all the states.)

But the rural vote in California was minuscule, amounting to only about 2.5 percent of the vote. Clinton won 56.4 percent of the urban vote in California.

Clinton also won the California primary in 2008, defeating the eventual nominee, then Sen. Barack Obama. The most noticeable difference between 2008 and last night’s contest was turnout. Vote totals in 2016 were only 65 percent of 2008.

In New Mexico, Clinton’s rural vote totals were slightly higher than her urban percentage. Clinton won 51 percent of the urban vote and just over 53 percent of the micropolitan and rural vote.

In New Mexico, rural voters constituted 30 percent of the Democratic electorate. And unlike California, turnout in New Mexico this year was 44 percent higher than in 2008.

Clinton won just over half the South Dakota vote in urban and rural counties. Again, voter turnout was down in South Dakota compared to eight years ago. The Democrat vote in South Dakota amounted to just over half of the 2008 turnout.

The vote in Montana was consistent, with Sanders winning 51 percent of the total in urban, rural and micropolitan counties.

New Jersey, where Clinton won 63 percent of the vote, does not have any rural or micropolitan counties.CA_Primary_Chart






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