Friday, October 10, 2008

Scholar of rural vote says McCain will win it, but maybe not big because focus will stay on economy

John McCain will get most of the votes in rural America on Nov. 4, but “The question is whether he wins rural American by a bigger margin than George W. Bush,” says Peter Francia, an East Carolina University political science professor who made a detailed study of rural voting patterns in the 2004 presidential election.

Francia, left, told Douglas Burns of the Iowa Independent that voters' focus this time will be almost entirely on the economy, not personality-based appeals that helped Bush twice: “I think it’s going to be hard for the Republicans to shift the focus away from the economy. Everything is going to be economy, economy, economy.”

Nevertheless, Francia said it's clear that McCain will keep attacking Obama’s character, which implicitly raises questions about Obama's patriotism. “That message plays well in rural America,” he told Burns, who writes: "White working class/rural voters may not be fessing up to pollsters about the racism that will ultimately inform their votes in November, Francia said. But Obama may have the organization to counter that." (Read more)

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