Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama in rural swing counties by 22 points, 59%-37%, according to a new bipartisan survey that questioned 600 likely voters in rural counties in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The poll was conducted Oct. 9-11.
In 2008, Obama lost the rural vote by two points to John McCain, but these numbers are so lopsided they may threaten Democrats in down-ballot races.
According to the National Rural Assembly/Center for Rural Strategies poll, Romney led Obama by 10 points in a similar poll in September, and his margins have increased because of Romney’s strong debate performance against Obama.
“The poll documents a continuing — in fact, accelerating — collapse of support for President Obama among rural voters,” said Bill Bishop of Daily Yonder, a prominent website that analyzes rural politics.
Romney wins by a landslide on nearly every issue polled:
- Values: Romney leads by 22 points
- Economy: Romney leads by 30 points
- Medicare and Social Security: Romney leads by 47 points
- The Middle Class: Romney leads by 20 points
- Deficit: Romney leads by 37 points
- Obamacare: Rural voters disapprove by a 26-point margin
"Voters in rural areas were holding back from Mitt Romney for a variety of reasons, ranging from more conservative voters not being very high on him to the perception of him as an elite and out of touch," Anna Greenberg, the Democratic pollster said. "The debate went a long way to making rural voters more comfortable with him in the way they were comfortable with George Bush."
Dan Judy, the Republican pollster, said Romney’s surge among rural voters “is what’s helping him in swing states overall” and would “absolutely” help down-ballot candidates.
In 2004, George W. Bush got 59.2% of the rural vote, and Romney is on pace to get 59% as well. Romney, though, may win the rural vote by a greater margin than Bush. Bush won the rural vote by a 19-point margin over John Kerry. Romney currently leads by 22 points over Obama.