Rural Voters and the Rural Vote in 2016
David L. Brown
Penn State University1
CUSS Newsletter, Summer 2018, Vol 30, No 3.
Much has been written about the impact of rural voters, and the rural vote, on the 2016 presidential election. According to The Pew Research Center, Trump beat Clinton in rural areas by 62% to 34%, and by 50% to 45% in the suburbs. In contrast, Clinton bested Trump by 59% to 35% in urban areas. Moreover, Trump’s share of votes grew in direct relation with the degree of urbanization from about 40% in metropolitan areas with 1 million or more people to 58% in smaller metropolitan areas to fully 70% in totally rural counties (Kurtzleben 2016). Research shows that the share of rural votes cast for Democratic presidential candidates since 2000 was highest in 2008, and declined in both 2012 and especially in 2016. Moreover, this pattern characterizes nonmetropolitan counties with and without small and medium sized cities, and to a lesser degree both core and suburban parts of smaller metropolitan areas (See Figure 12). Only large metropolitan core areas avoided the Democratic drop off (Scala and Johnson 2017f).