Sunday, March 09, 2008

Clinton's rural base and Obama's urban base make them the ideal ticket, Bill Clinton says

Hillary Clinton's success with rural voters and Barack Obama's with urban voters make them the ideal ticket for Democrats, former President Bill Clinton said yesterday in Pass Christian, Miss. Answering a question from Mike Memoli of NBC and National Journal, Sen. Clinton's husband said:

"I know that she has always been open to it, because she believes that if you can unite the energy and the new people that he's brought in and the people in these vast swaths of small town and rural America that she's carried overwhelmingly, if you had those two things together she thinks it'd be hard to beat. I mean, you look at the, you look at the, you look at the map of Texas and the map in Ohio. And the map in Missouri. But you look at most of these places, he would win the urban areas and the upscale voters, and she wins the traditional rural areas that we lost when President Reagan was president. If you put those two things together, you'd have an almost unstoppable force."

CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand reports that Obama told KTVQ of Billings, Mont., "You won't see me as a vice presidential candidate, you know, I'm running for president." And Maureen Dowd says in today's New York Times, "If he thinks Hillary has cut him down to size lately, he’d better imagine what his life would be like as the Clintons’ vice president." (Read more)

But that doesn't mean that circumstances and minds couldn't change, and the results so far do show a rural-urban divide that, if bridged, could help Democrats overcome Republicans' huge advantage among rural voters in the last two presidential elections, a key reason for both of President Bush's elections. "The farther you travel from large cities, the greater the vote for the New York senator," Bill Bishop writes in the Daily Yonder. "The Democratic Party may be divided between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but it's divided rural and urban, too." (Read more)

Bishop told Howard Berkes of National Public Radio that his analysis, done with geographer Tim Murphy, "seems to go beyond the basic demographic categories we normally look at." Pollster Anna Greenberg told Berkes, "Clinton's doing better with white, working class and older voters. Obama's doing better with younger, college-educated voters. Clinton's voters are more likely to live in rural areas and Obama's voters are more likely to live in urban areas, except for some African-American voters in Southern states." (Read more)

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