Monday, January 05, 2015

Rural white vote could be key swing demographic for Hillary Clinton in 2016 presidential election

Hillary Clinton is the near-prohibitive front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, but her general-election chances could hinge on whether or not she can secure the support of rural white voters, who have been trending toward Republicans in recent elections, Beth Reinhard writes for The Wall Street Journal.

"Working-class voters have long been a bedrock of Democratic support, and the party continues to do well with voters from lower-income households overall, according to exit polls," Reinhard writes. "But white, more rural voters in the South and elsewhere have been fleeing the party." Even in Clinton's home state of Arkansas, a state once largely controlled by Democrats, Republicans now hold every state and federal office. (Journal graphic; click on it for larger version)
Last month a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that only 32 percent of whites without college degrees support Clinton, down from 43 percent in 2008, Reinhard writes. The number with a negative view of Clinton has increased from 44 percent in 2008 to 48 percent last month.

Still, a recent CNN poll of head-to-head contests of Clinton and possible Republican nominees says she leads among Southerners against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and even Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, Philip Bump reports for The Washington Post. "She leads among rural voters against all of them except Paul and also against former Florida governor Jeb Bush. She even leads among whites against Cruz, Huckabee and Paul."

"Right now, though, Clinton is doing well enough among whites, rural voters, and Southerners to actually possibly beat some of her possible opponents," Bump writes. "The Democrats still have seen a long-term drop, but Clinton might at least help pump the brakes." And, it must be remembered that presidential elections are state-by-state, for electoral votes. (Post graphic; click on it for larger version)

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