Does Mitt Romney strike you as the kind of candidate who would be an easy sell in rural America?
It turns out, he is — at least at this moment. NPR’s URL uses the term “near-landslide”:
The random cellphone and land line poll of 600 likely rural voters in nine battleground states Oct. 9-11 has Romney at 59 percent among the survey’s respondents. Obama’s support is now down to 37 percent among rural battleground voters, a plunge of 10 points from the actual rural vote in those states four years ago.
The nine battleground states of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin have a collective rural population of 13.6 million, according to the Census Bureau.
“It’s a boon to Romney,” says pollster Anna Greenberg of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, the Democratic partner in the survey. “It will help him … because, of course, he will lose urban areas by a similar margin. And the suburban areas are still pretty competitive.”
Of course, a 59–37 split in favor of Romney perhaps ought to be less surprising when one sees the poll’s sample splits 37 percent Democrat or lean Democrat, 5 percent independent, 57 percent Republican or lean Republican. However, as noted above, Obama did much better in these counties four years ago, and “last month, a similar rural survey in the same battleground states had a smaller 54-to-40 percent margin for Romney.”
Forty-nine percent of the respondents indicated they attended religious services weekly or more often; 19 percent work in farming or agriculture, and 46 percent said they own guns (another 14 percent said they didn’t know or refused to answer the question).