Monday, June 27, 2016

Presidential polls show rural-urban divide growing due to gun control, environmental issues

Since Bill Clinton left the White House, Democrats have "essentially written off rural, gun-friendly heartland states, such as Tennessee, and added cosmopolitan, racially diverse, and urbanized states, particularly along the coasts, that are more receptive to gun control—Virginia, say," Ron Brownstein reports for The Atlantic.

Dan Friedman reports for Fortune, "After attributing their presidential loss in 2000 in part to the assault-weapons ban, Democrats shied away from gun control talk in order to avoid alienating rural voters, particularly blue-collar white males. Today, Democrats are less worried about those voters, who tend to oppose gun laws. That’s because those voters now tend to vote Republican anyway."

Bill Bishop of the Daily Yonder notes these reports and points out that recent polls in three states—Arizona, Utah and Wisconsin—have some unusual findings in the presidential race but reflect a growing rural-urban gap driven by issues such as gun control and the environment.

A statewide poll in Arizona shows Democrat Hillary Clinton leading Republican Donald Trump 46.5 percent to 42.2 percent, Mike Sunnucks reports for the Phoenix Business Journal. Clinton leads by 17 points in Tuscon and holds a 12 -point lead among women. The story is different in rural areas, where Trump has a 6-point lead. Clinton's overall lead is surprising, considering Republican Mitt Romney won the state in 2012 and Republicans have carried the state in every election expect 1996, when Bill Clinton beat Sen. Bob Dole by 2 percent.

A Marquette University Law School poll shows that Wisconsin voters are not high on either candidate, with Clinton holding a 7-point lead with registered voters and a 9-point lead among those likely to vote, Craig Gilbert reports for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In rural areas, Clinton is viewed unfavorably by 62 percent of voters.

The Utah Priorities Project Voter Survey found a big different between how the state's rural and urban voters view the environment, reports Utah Policy. Two-thirds of rural voters (66 percent) say stricter environmental controls are too costly, while only 47 percent of urban voters agreed. Also, "48 percent of voters say stricter environmental controls are worth the cost, while 52 percent say they are not. The results show a wide gap between conservative and liberal voters, with 73 percent of conservative voters saying more stringent controls are too costly. 93 percent of liberal voters hold the opposite position."

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