Progressives Need To Make Gains In Rural Communities. Our New Poll Shows How They Can.
Rural Americans want rural-specific solutions to rural-specific problems and the policies that they support come straight out of the Progressive platform. Progressives should lean into them.
Columbus, OH—New national polling released this week commissioned by RuralOrganizing.org shows that rural support for Donald Trump is down since the 2016 election, yet Democrats still aren’t picking up rural voter support.
According to the 2018 National Rural Survey, over 50 percent (52%) of rural respondents approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, and when it comes to generic House candidates, Republicans hold a ten point margin over Democrats (43-33). Polling also shows that 1 in 5 rural residents are still undecided on the 2018 House race.
However, results also challenge much of the conventional wisdom about small towns and rural communities: Rural voters lean to the Left when it comes to healthcare, education, the economy, income inequality, and corporate money in politics.
A strong majority (77%) of rural residents think Congress is giving tax breaks to the wealthy instead of investing in rural areas
Over 75% agree that politicians blame new immigrants or people of color to divide and distract us from the real source of our problems, instead of delivering for working people
Two thirds (67%) support offering free tuition to local community colleges and trade schools
A similar number (64%) want Medicare to cover all Americans
Over half (54%) support increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour
Only 38 percent support outlawing abortions
The following is a statement from Matt Hildreth, Board Chair of RuralOrganizing.org.
Nearly all participants in our survey (94%) said the rural and small-town way of life is worth fighting for, and the solutions they support for rebuilding rural communities come straight from the Progressive platform. However, our numbers show that the majority of rural Americans still feel that Democrats aren’t fighting for them.
Small town folks know well that the system is rigged for the powerful and wealthy. Progressives should embrace a populist, pro-democratic, message that celebrates rural life, rejects big money in politics, calls out race-based strategies of division, expands access to programs like Medicare, and favors small businesses over major corporations.
Over 90 percent of rural Americans think we should invest in small, local businesses and protect rural schools from closing. Over 85 percent think we should protect hunting and fishing habitats through smart land management policies, and pass policies that support rural grocery stores, pharmacies, and clinics. Three out of four rural residents want individuals with drug addictions sent to rehabilitation centers instead of prisons. Two thirds (67%) support offering free tuition to local community colleges and trade schools and a similar number (64%) want Medicare to cover all Americans.
The mission of RuralOrganizing.org is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.