The Rural 46 Percent
National Rural Assembly/Center for Rural Strategies
Mitt Romney was off by one percentage point, at least in rural America.
It’s not 47 percent of Americans who are dependent on government for food, health care and income, at least not in rural communities.
According to a new poll, it’s really 46 percent.
The findings come in the latest National Rural Assembly/Center for Rural Strategies poll of voters living in rural communities in swing states. This poll found that Mitt Romney had built a 22-point lead over President Barack Obama among rural swing state voters. (See story here.)
The poll also finds that nearly the same percentage of rural voters get some kind of assistance from government as Romney cited in his now famous comment about those receiving some federal subsidy.
Romney was videotaped at a campaign fundraiser saying, "There are 47% who are with him (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."
We don't know if people feel victimized or "entitled" to benefits, but Romney was pretty close in estimating the ratio of people receiving government benefits. Well, he was off by one point. In rural America, it’s 46 percent.
The poll asked voters in nine swing states to specify “which, if any, of the following forms of assistance you have used or received in the last year.” A list of benefit programs was read, including Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, Social Security and unemployment.
It turns out that 46 percent of those polled received assistance from one or more of these programs in the last year. The largest percentages received either Social Security or Medicare.
The full results can be seen in the chart above.