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New Poll Shows How Rural Voters View the Democratic Party

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

A new poll released this week claimed that Democrats may no longer be able to rely on suburban voters in elections given President Biden’s mounting struggles and tanking approval rating. Additionally, it claimed that an “immediate course of action” would be required for Democrats to garner support from rural voters to prevent “decades in the political wilderness.” The poll then showed how the majority of rural voters view the Democratic Party and what issues are the most pressing to them.

A Morning Consult poll published Tuesday found that 65 percent of rural voters view the Democratic Party unfavorable, including 48 percent who do so “strongly.” And, among over 20 issues, rural voters indicated that issues surrounding the U.S.-Mexico border had the strongest correlation with negative views of the Democratic Party.

On the contrary, 52 percent of rural voters said they view the Republican party favorably while 41 percent said they view it unfavorably.

In addition to securing the U.S.-Mexico border, the other issues most important to rural voters were Christian values, support for the police, and increased military spending. Reducing the national debt, combating China’s trade practices, and providing financial assistance to big agricultural companies were three more top issues for rural voters.

In the poll write-up, it notes that rural voters are less likely than the average voter to live around a Democrat. They are more likely than the average voter to view the Democratic party as “too liberal.” 

Former Democratic Montana Gov. Steve Bullock told Morning Consult that his party has a “decent” pitch to attract voters in rural areas.

“Former Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat who was re-elected in 2016 when Trump carried the state by 16 percentage points, said his party has a decent policy pitch to make to the voters in rural America. 

Taking the immigration issue as an example, Bullock said Biden’s “main” policy on the country’s Southern border — pandemic-related migrant expulsions — should appeal to those who prioritize border security, as it has in many ways continued the Trump administration’s approach rather than broken from it.

‘Unfortunately, what people are hearing is the chyron,’ he said, riffing on the salience of Republican messaging that frames Democrats as police-defunding anarchists and emanates through rural communities via conservative news channels.”

María Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, which works to expand Hispanic voter registration, told Morning Consult that Democrats “absolutely need rural America” but Democrats don’t want to “touch it” as if it will go away.

The survey was conducted from Jan. 14 to Jan. 16 of 1,525 self-identified rural voters.

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