On Super Tuesday, Clinton and McCain Take the Rural Vote
Sen. Barack Obama is stronger in urban Democratic bastions. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee nearly beats McCain in rural Republican strongholds.
Across more than twenty states holding primary elections and caucuses this past Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain won the most votes from rural Americans, according to a Daily Yonder analysis.
The vote from rural, urban and exurban communities told different stories for the two parties.
In the Democratic contest between Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois senator won the urban vote, but lost in rural and suburban areas. Nationally, Clinton won 55.3% of the rural vote. Obama took 38.1%.
The span between them was greatest in the South. There, Obama won 62% of the vote in metro areas while Clinton took just 35.1%.
In the rural South, however, Clinton won 58.1% of the vote to Obama’s 33.2%.
The differences were more muted in the West.
The candidate who found the biggest advantage in rural America was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. The ordained Baptist minister won only 16.2% of the vote among urban Republicans. He took nearly 31% of the vote in rural counties and over 34% in exurban counties.
Sen. John McCain’s percentage dropped as the election moved from metro areas to the exurbs and rural counties.
The results point to an interesting match-up depending on which Democrat emerges to meet McCain, who appears to have the Republican nomination secured.
Obama and McCain did the best in the cities and both did less well in rural counties. Clinton, meanwhile, was less popular in deep blue counties but did better in counties that normally lean Republican.
The picture changes again when total votes are considered instead of just percentages. Six million more Democrats voted Tuesday than did Republicans. But nearly ALL of those additional votes came from urban counties, where Obama did well.
The total Democratic votes from rural and exurban counties barely surpassed the total Republican vote from these same areas.
In other words, rural voters comprised a larger proportion of the Republican vote. In the Democratic primaries, 15.5 percent of the total vote came from rural or exurban communities.
In Republican primaries, over 26 percent of the vote came from rural and exurban places.
The Yonder has a full account of each state’s vote.