Rural voters in presidential elections, 1992-2004

Seth C. McKee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The "Red" versus "Blue" state debate has reached a fever pitch in popular commentary, but scholars have contributed very little to the discussion by way of examining rural voting behavior. With the use of national exit poll data, this study attempts to fill this considerable void, with a detailed analysis of rural voters in the 1992-2004 presidential elections. In 1992 and 1996 the rural vote was split between the parties, but in 2000 the rural vote shifted decidedly in favor of Republican George W. Bush and it stayed with the incumbent in 2004. This research on the voting behavior of rural voters in recent presidential elections documents and evaluates the many differences between rural and non-rural voters, and accounts for several of the factors leading to an increase in rural Republican voting in 2000 and 2004. The conventional wisdom that rural voters are more likely to be so-called values voters is true and this translates into greater Republican support. Further, on virtually every survey item in which their non-rural counterparts share the same survey response, rural voters are consistently more Republican in their presidential vote choice. Dissatisfaction with President Clinton - termed Clinton fatigue - was much more pronounced among rural voters and this was a major reason for the strong rural shift in favor of the Republican Party in 2000.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 3 2007


  • Clinton fatigue
  • Democratic Party
  • Republican Party
  • Rural voters
  • Values
  • Vote choice


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