Sanders Wins Bigger in Rural; GOP Votes Evenly across Rural and Urban N.H.
Senator Bernie Sanders’ support swells in New Hampshire’s seven nonmetropolitan counties. For Republican candidates, rural and urban voters’ preferences were nearly identical.
The polls said that Donald Trump would win the Republican primary election in New Hampshire and that Senator Bernie Sanders would top the Democrats. And those polls were absolutely correct, as the results from Tuesday’s primary attest.
But was there a difference in how the candidates fared in the more rural parts of New Hampshire?
As the charts show, there were differences, but they weren’t large. The vote in New Hampshire was fairly uniform.
Senator Sanders did better in rural counties than in metropolitan areas. Donald Trump did slightly worse in rural counties than in the cities. And the votes Trump lost in rural New Hampshire seemed to go to Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Sanders’ win was a landslide over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, no matter how you look at the results. But Sanders did even better with rural Democrats, picking up an additional 7 percentage points of support outside large cities.
Sanders won 64 percent of the vote in seven non-metropolitan counties and took just over 57 percent of the vote in the state’s three metropolitan counties.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump won 33.5 percent of the vote in metropolitan counties, but the New York City real estate developer saw his take of the vote drop to 31.4 percent in rural New Hampshire.
That vote seemed to go to Kasich. The Ohio governor conducted over 100 town hall meetings in the state and maybe that paid off in rural communities.
Kasich won 13.5 percent of the vote in metropolitan New Hampshire, but notched about 17 percent in rural counties.
The most Democratic areas of New Hampshire are in the state’s nonmetropolitan counties. In 2012, Barack Obama won 56.7 percent of the vote in rural New Hampshire, over Republican Mitt Romney.
In the state’s three metropolitan counties, however, Obama won just 50.4 percent of the vote in the last general election.
Interestingly, Clinton’s share of the statewide vote was the same as the last time she ran in the New Hampshire primary – in 2008 against Barack Obama and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. That year, her 39% of the vote was enough to win the three-way contest. This year, the same share of the vote handed her a 29-point loss.
Turnout was down 10 percent for Democrats from 2008, while Republicans saw about a 20 percent increase in voters over 2008.
The next primary is February 20 in South Carolina, followed by Nevada on February 23.
How this story defines rural: This story uses the simplest definition of rural — counties that are not in a metropolitan area are considered rural. Metropolitan counties have a city of at least 50,000 residents, or they are adjacent to a metropolitan county and have strong economic ties it. Everything else is nonmetropolitan. New Hampshire has three metropolitan counties and seven nonmetropolitan counties.