In counties that voted for Barack Obama in 2016 and Trump in 2016, or went for Trump by more than 20 points above their percentage for Mitt Romney, a plurality (41 percent) of voters think the country is worse off now than it was a year ago; 32 percent think it’s better off. Many of the counties are rural.
|This looks like a story in all the colored counties; click on the image to enlarge it.|
That's why both parties -- and increasingly, the news media -- are paying attention to rural voters. "In the mid-term elections, the Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to take the House of Representatives, and many of their likeliest gains are in places, such as Iowa and Pennsylvania, thick with Obama-Trump voters," Astill writes. "Democrats are planning a fusillade of messaging on the bread-and-butter economic issues they believe switchers care about most. . . . Some switchers do seem open to persuasion. Almost 30 percent voted for a Democratic House candidate in 2016, which suggests both a residual tie to the party and how singularly Mrs. Clinton was disliked."
It's well-known that economic woes and cultural anxieties helped drive voters to Trump. In his column (published last week), Astill wonders whether Democrats have the wherewithal to assuage flip-voters' worries on that score. It's too soon to tell how the 2018 midterms will fall out, but the pro-Democrat carnage of yesterday's election suggests it's a possibility.