Friday, July 06, 2012

Obama appeals to rural voters on rural issues; Romney's pitch is more subtle and general

The presidential candidates are appealing to rural voters in different ways. This week, President Obama’s campaign began soliciting supporters to enlist in a “Rural Americans for Obama” committee and added a section to its website that lays out its claims for the president’s achievements on agricultural and rural issues.

Mitt Romney's website has no specific references to rural issues, "which probably reflects the difference in the candidates' constituencies," said Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues. "Obama's base includes groups that are organized around, or supportive of, federal support for rural America. Romney's main rural interest group is probably large farmers, and his campaign appears to think his support among them is solid, because its website has no specific references for farming or agriculture."

A search of Romney's site found 70 mentions of "farming" and 1,650 for "agriculture," an interesting divergence of terminology. Obama's site had "farming" 1,070 times and "agriculture" 1,130. (Stamford Advocate photo)

Obama got only about a third of the rural vote against John McCain in 2008, but this year's election will be decided in about 10 swing states, many of which have a significant rural vote, "so his campaign is trying to limit Romney's rural margin," Cross said. "It remains to be seen whether many rural voters will vote on rural issues, which generally pale in importance to the economy, health care and social issues." The campaign is trying nevertheless.

Agri-Pulse reports that an email was sent this week by Erin Hannigan, Rural Americans Vote director at the campaign organization, Obama for America, telling supporters that the president was raised by a single mother and grandparents from Kansas. Hannigan's pitch to the rural population is that Obama's Kansas background led to him being brought up “to believe in a simple American value: If you're willing to work hard, you can make a good life for yourself and a better one for your kids. The president has been working to make that a reality again in rural communities.” While the website focuses more on Obama's record of economic development in rural areas, it also lays out his record in agriculture.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Hannigan is a city slicker from Orland Park, IL pop. 56,767 in Cook County (Chicago). Guess there were no rural folks who were interviewed.