Polls show a growing disenchantment with President Bush nationwide, and this is also holding true in the rural areas which traditionally were hard-core Bush supporters, according to this report from NPR which cites a study conducted for the non-partisan Center for Rural Strategies.
A new national poll indicates rural Americans are no longer reliably Republican, and the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq seems mainly to blame.
People from the nation's smallest places had the biggest impact in the last two presidential elections. President Bush's dominance in rural counties is credited with giving him his winning margins in both 2000 and 2004.
But the new survey, of 804 likely voters living beyond cities and suburbs, indicates that the Republican formula for winning presidential elections is losing a key component.
"I think there are two big headlines out of this poll," says Anna Greenberg of the Democratic polling firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. "The first is 'Republican Collapse in Rural Areas.' And the second is 'Rural is the Battleground in 2008."
Greenberg conducted the survey coast to coast, May 31 through June 5, in what the Census Bureau calls "non-metropolitan" counties.
In related news, a disproportionate number of US soldiers who die in Iraq come from rural areas, according to a study by the Carsey Institute. This is principally due to the higher enlistment rate of young men in rural areas, a trend which in turn has its own roots in diminished employment opportunities in those areas. The video linked below is a report on the Carsey Institute study, and is produced by the Center For Rural Strategies.
Click on the "play button in the lower left-hand corder to play the video.
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