Monday, June 29, 2015

Decisions about Obamacare, same-sex marriage, trade highlight the rural-urban divide

Three major decisions last week—the Supreme Court's ruling on federal health reform and same-sex marriage and Congressional renewal of fast track trade authority—are perfect examples to highlight the rural-urban divide, Shawna Thomas reports for NBC News.

Rural Americans have been the most critical of the Affordable Care Act, with 63 percent saying it should be overhauled or eliminated and 34 percent saying it should be eliminated, according to a poll done for NBC and The Wall Street Journal poll. Nationally, 25 percent of people say the ACA should be eliminated, while 50 percent say it should overhauled or eliminated. (NBC /WSJ graphic)

Similar results are seen regarding the ruling about same-sex marriage, Thomas writes. Only 46 percent of rural Americans wanted the court to legalize gay marriage, compared to 57 percent overall, while 47 percent of rural Americans opposed the ruling, compared to 37 percent nationally.

When it comes to trade deals, 34 percent of Americans say free trade between the U.S. and foreign countries has hurt the U.S., while 29 percent say it has helped, Thomas writes. In rural areas, 50 percent say it has hurt, while only 18 percent say it has helped. The bill from the Republican-controlled Congress "not only gave President Barack Obama a legislative victory (rural Americans are regularly the least supportive of the president), it also paves the way for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal."

"Whoever wins the Republican nomination in 2016 is going to have to find a way to inspire the GOP's rural base while still trying to appeal to crucial, suburban swing voters," Thomas writes. "Weeks like this past one show how hard that may be." (Read more)

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