The non-partisan Center for Rural Strategies was founded to try and keep rural issues visible in elections that sometimes seem to focus only in the cities that host $2000 a plate dinners and 50,000 person stadiums. Since the Kentucky-based group was founded, one thing has been consistently true in the results of their polls of rural voters -- America's small towns and countryside have been running red. However, it seems that may be at an end.
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.
Forty-six percent of the survey respondents indicated they'd vote for an un-named Democratic candidate for president if the election were held today; 43 percent favored a Republican. That's a statistical dead heat, given the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3.46 percent.
There are many states, Missouri among them, where Republicans depend entirely on not just wins, but big wins, among rural voters to carry them past Democratic leads in the cities.
If this trend does not reverse itself in the next 18 months, networks had better be sure their election night maps are capable of projecting all blue.
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