Barack Obama didn't win rural America, but he didn't lose here as badly as did John Kerry in 2004.">
Mother and daughter for Obama, Charlotte McKee (left) and Lane Gosnay of La Grange, Texas, enjoyed musical entertainment by the Ginn Sisters and others at Freyburg Hall, October 5. The event was a benefit for the Fayette County Democratic Party.
Photo: Bill Bishop
Sen. Barack Obama won the presidency Tuesday by increasing Democratic margins in urban areas and by slightly decreasing the party's losses in rural and exurban areas, compared to the 2004 presidential race.
(See charts after the jump. The Daily Yonder will continue to update results today. So keep checking back.)
Obama was able to flip Ohio from Republican to Democratic by increasing the party's take in urban areas and reducing its deficits in rural and exurban counties. In '04, John Kerry came out of Ohio's cities with a 183,000 vote margin, but lost rural and exurban parts of the state by more than 201,000 votes.
Obama, however, ran up a 405,000 vote in urban Ohio Tuesday, and then narrowed his losses in rural and exurban parts of the state to under 196,000.
News media exit polls appear to overstate Obama's totals in rural communities. Exit polls ask people whether they live in urban, suburban or rural communities. In Ohio, the exit polls reported that Obama received 44% of the rural vote.
In the count of the actual vote from rural Ohio counties, however, Obama received 42.6 percent of the vote. Similarly, in Missouri the exit polls reported that Obama received 40% of the rural vote. In the full vote count, however, Obama received only 36.9% of the vote from rural Missouri counties.
Obama's boat rose on swelling tides. The basic shape of the electorate didn't change — rural areas still voted Republican; Democrats dominated the cities — but the margins rose for Democrats in urban areas and their losses narrowed in rural counties.
In Missouri — a state still too close to call — Obama scored a 244,000 vote advantage in the cities. Kerry won the urban parts of Missouri by only 86,000 four years ago.
In rural Missouri, Obama trimmed 22,000 votes from the Republican margin in 2004.
Missouri is close mostly because Democrats won 56.5% of the vote in urban counties compared to only 52.4% in 2004. But Obama also trimmed a percentage point or two off of Republican margins in rural and exurban counties.
The same pattern appeared in Pennsylvania. Obama “made substantial inroads in Lancaster City's traditionally Republican suburbs, one of the most important factors in his large victory statewide. He came closer to winning this county than any Democrat has since 1964," reported Tom Murse of the Lancaster New Era. “Republican John McCain's relatively slim victory here — he won the county with less than 56 percent of the vote — was not nearly enough to overcome Obama's massive Election Day margins in the Philadelphia suburbs. McCain's plurality here was, roughly, only a third of President Bush's in 2004.”