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Article: “The Rural Side of the Urban-Rural Gap”
Author: James G. Gimpel, Kimberly A. Karnes
Issue: July 2006
Journal: PS: Political Science & Politics
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The Rural Side of the Urban-Rural Gap
The time does seem to be ripe for revisiting
the urban-rural divide, with an eye toward
understanding what lies beneath it. The last
two presidential elections have revealed an
urban-rural cleavage that is hard to ignore.
Most observers now recognize that the “red”
vs. “blue” Election Night maps really mask an
urban-rural divide within states—a gap that has
increased in recent years according to a range
of definitions. In 2004, the difference in Demo-
cratic support between the most and least pop-
ulous counties in the nation exceeded 25 points
~see Figure 1!. Survey marginals are compara-
ble, although rural populations are not well
represented in most national polls. Tabulations
from the 2004 American National Election
Studies ~ANES!indicate a 20-point gap in
presidential preference between inhabitants of
counties with more than a million people and
those in non-metro counties of less than
Party strategists are alarmed by this gap,
particularly on the Democratic side. Although
on their own, the nation’s tiniest burgs do not
amount to much, collectively they do cast
enough votes to anchor the Electoral College to
the Republican candidate in many states. In the
wake of the 2004 election, newly elected Dem-
ocratic National Committee chair Howard Dean
is said to have urged his
party’s elites to study
and address their “rural
Surprisingly, political
science seems remark-
ably ill-prepared to do
this. For all the research
on urban politics, there
is no remotely compara-
ble body of accumulated
wisdom on rural popula-
tions ~but see Lewis-
Beck 1977!. In this essay, we take up Dr.
Dean’s charge to seek a deeper understanding
of the rural side of the urban-rural divide.
Explanations of the urban-rural gap are right
to note the obvious compositional differences
that make places politically distinct from one
another. Areas with low population density
may stand out from other locations because
only certain types of people have come to re-
side there. If so, there is nothing magical about
place-of-residence, per se, but the peculiar eco-
nomic and demographic traits of resident popu-
lations identify rural behavior and beliefs.
Tabulations from major national surveys show
that rural voters are, on average, more White,
Christian, evangelical, religiously devout, el-
derly, less educated, and less affluent than
urban and suburban populations. They also
own more guns, are more likely to oppose
abortion rights, and hew to more traditional
family arrangements than those living
A few other traits of rural voters are less
obvious. Rural voters are not more Republican
in party identification than suburban voters,
although they are much more so than those
living in central cities. Rural voters are also
much more likely to be homeowners, and to be
self-employed, than non-rural residents. Con-
trary to widely held hillbilly stereotypes, they
are not entirely Southern; 29% of the nation’s
rural voting-age residents reside in Deep South
states, with another 21% residing in Border
In summary, the profile of the rural Ameri-
can contains potential cross-pressures. Rural
voters tend to be morally and socially conser-
vative, but they might also have good reasons
to vote with Democrats on matters of economic
import. Nevertheless, data show that their vot-
ing loyalty is growing more Republican, while
people in America’s most populous locations
head in the opposite direction, giving rise to
the unmistakable gap shown in Figure 1. Sub-
urbs, for their part, churn restlessly in the
middle—on balance suburbanites are Republi-
can, but there is wide variation.
The Rural American as
Ignorant Rube
On the subject of cross-pressures, it is im-
possible to ignore Thomas Frank’s ~2004!re-
cent work arguing that economic vulnerability
has been displaced as an issue among rural
Americans by the wily deployment of religious
and moral symbols by business-oriented Re-
publican elites. According to Frank, the moral
focus has distracted foolish rural voters from
their legitimate economic grievances, duping
them into voting with the most affluent. The
result has been the formation of a coalition on
the American right of working-class rural vot-
ers and corporate business interests, with the
latter wielding the greater influence.
In Frank’s view, rural voters mindlessly elect
people who follow the business interests of
Wall Street and unwittingly undermine their
own economic position for nothing in return.
This, according to Frank, is why some of the
poorest counties in the nation in predominantly
rural states gave over 80% of their vote to Re-
publican candidates in recent presidential elec-
tions. Geographic divisions in American
politics are often anchored in non-political ste-
reotypes about the way people live and think in
places distant and unfamiliar. Frank’s conten-
tion that rural citizens are ill-bred dimwits who
vote incorrectly will resonate with metropolitan
readers, and most university faculty. The
unflattering views that urban sophisticates have
James G. Gimpel,
University of Maryland,
College Park
Kimberly A. Karnes,
University of Maryland,
College Park
PSOnline 467
come to harbor toward rural Americans, and vice versa, have
dredged a wide moat. City dwellers evidently believe that rural
Americans are dumb, boorish, and bigoted.
Economic Change and the Experience
of Economic Change
Our contention is that the urban-rural divide is rooted in
much more than morality politics. Frank’s ~2004!argument that
rural Americans are easy to fleece politically has been chal-
lenged by Bartels ~2006!, but not on the grounds articulated
here. Bartels soberly insists that Frank’s evidence is flawed be-
cause economic conditions continue to be important to Ameri-
cans, regardless of place-of-residence. There are several other
possible explanations of rural political distinctiveness, however,
including: ~1!the possibility that economic struggle in rural
areas has been exaggerated; ~2!the fact that rural self-images
are not well understood; and ~3!widespread misunderstanding
of rural Americans’ adaptability to and perceptions of changing
economic circumstances.
Perhaps rural Americans are not laboring to choke down their
economic misery. This is not so difficult to believe if accounts
of rural economic collapse have been exaggerated, or if eco-
nomic conditions and the experience of economic conditions are
separable. Republican voting habits may be sustained through-
out rural America because it is not so evident to residents that
economic conditions have worsened dramatically under Republi-
can leadership more than they did under Democratic leadership,
or more than they have in other geographic locations.
In spite of globalization and the move to market-based corpo-
rate farming, the sky has not fallen on rural and small-town
Americans, rather few of whom actually are employed in the
agricultural sector anyway. Economic decline in some sectors
has been met with improvements in others. The upshot is that
rural residents may see little compelling reason to revolt against
their Republican masters, at least from a pocketbook
A number of studies of life and job satisfaction show that
people who live in rural areas are more satisfied with their lives
and jobs than those in urban and suburban locations ~Drury
and Tweeten 1997; Martinson and Wilkening 1984; Rodgers
1980!. Much of this happiness appears to be anchored in self-
employment or an enlarged scope of job responsibility. But even
if we control for occupation or self-employment, we must note
that key differences in socialization experiences have shaped
subjective judgments about the meaning and value of work
~Martinson and Wilkening 1984, 204!.
Data ~not shown!from the 2000 ANES indicates that rural
residents working for an employer other than themselves were
more likely than those living elsewhere to say they were com-
pletely satisfied with their lives. Rural residents who were self-
employed were far more likely to say they were completely
satisfied than self-employed individuals in non-rural areas.
Based on this evidence and that of other studies addressing life
satisfaction, health, and happiness ~Putnam 2000, Chapter 20!,
there is no groundswell of discontent in the remote hinterlands.
Maybe the real puzzle is why so many unhappy urban and sub-
urban citizens are not translating their high levels of discontent
into political demands.
Entrepreneurial Self-Images
and Private Property
People who live in rural areas are no different than other
Americans in that they discriminate between those who deserve
government assistance and those who do not. In addition,
Figure 1
Difference in Support for Democratic Presidential Candidates, by County Size
468 PS July 2006
however, rural residents express the same desire for lower taxes,
less regulation, and free markets as do residents of wealthy sub-
urbs. Why is this so? A strong sense of self-reliance anchored in
an individualistic ethic is traceable to the earliest days of the
republic ~Feldman 1988; Feldman and Zaller 1992; Knoke and
Henry 1977; McClosky and Zaller 1984!. This ethic is tied
closely to a preference for little or no government regulation of
business and a belief in the notion that those who succeed in a
competitive marketplace owe nothing to those who fail ~Green-
berg 1981; Schlozman and Verba 1979!. Economic individual-
ism shows up not only in the indisputably conservative attitudes
of rural Americans toward welfare but is also reinforced by two
cornerstone aspects of the rural economy: self-employment and
widespread property ownership.
As business owners and homeowners, rural dwellers’ commit-
ment to private property thwarts many policy sentiments that
might run contrary to an individualistic and competitive ethic.
The mode of production that historically has shaped rural areas
is that of the small independent owner-operator—the petit-
bourgeois ~Greenberg 1981; Engels 1975!. There has been little
sense of class oppression among rural Americans in contempo-
rary times because of high levels of self-employment and home-
ownership. According to the 2004 ANES, for example, 3.1 rural
residents worked for someone else for every one who reported
to be self-employed, but in non-rural areas, this ratio was more
than double that: 6.3!
Many rural families own land or other capital items such as
buildings, equipment, and store inventories, and are in entrepre-
neurial control of the allocation of these resources. Moreover,
families historically have provided much of the labor in these
enterprises, although this tradition is changing with corporate
penetration of agriculture and small-town enterprise. Finally,
farm and small business owners naturally operate in a competi-
tive marketplace subject to commodity price shifts, interest
rates, and commercial lending practices and regulations. Family
farms continue to survive because their reliance on largely un-
paid family labor allows them to absorb market downturns that
might crush a corporate farm ~Buttel and Flinn 1975; Flinn and
Buttel 1980, 950–951!.
The upshot is that many rural voters are comfortable voting
Republican because they see themselves as independent busi-
nesspersons rather than on-the-clock wage slaves. Actual mon-
etary income plays a relatively small role in their economic
evaluations compared to self-perceived economic status. As long
as these rural owner-operators view their own success as contin-
gent upon market forces, individualistic beliefs and attitudes
will be sustained. No doubt these rural entrepreneurs are not the
same sort of businesspeople one finds in the boardrooms of cor-
porate America, but they may have more in common with the
corporate CEO than they do with the urban service worker or
the industrial laborer, both of whom pay exorbitant rents for
modest housing, punch a time clock, and must ask permission to
take a bathroom break, go to see a physician, or attend a school
Survey researchers have suggested that the commitment to
self-reliance and small government is somewhat at odds with
the value of equality, although the two are not polar opposites
~Feldman 1988!. One of the signal facets of rural life is its rela-
tive income equality, typified by a narrow income distribution
and a smaller gap between rich and poor than what prevails in
metropolitan areas. It is this level aspect of rural life that allows
a fierce commitment to individualism to thrive. Rural voters
express relatively little systematic concern about the concept of
equality in response to survey questions. Who needs leveling
when it exists already?
Table 1 illustrates the impact of homeownership and self-
employment on the values of egalitarianism and limited govern-
ment using standard instrumentation from three recent studies.
We have controlled for place-of-residence to evaluate whether it
has a separate impact on these core values independent of the
general spatial distribution of self-employed persons and home-
owners. Controlling for income ensures that homeownership and
self-employment are not simply standing in as substitutes for
affluence. The results show that homeownership is an especially
strong and consistent predictor of individualistic attitudes favor-
ing less government intrusion and greater resistance to egalitari-
anism. Self-employment generally has a positive impact on
individualism and a negative impact on egalitarianism, but is
not always statistically significant.
Generally, however, rural residence does not matter much
independent of the geographic distribution of self-employment
and homeownership ~see Table 1!. If rural areas do stand apart
from other locations in their propensity to favor individualism
and express skepticism about leveling policies, it is primarily
because there are more homeowners and self-employed workers
in rural areas than in more urbanized areas. Place-of-residence
Table 1
The Impact of Self Employment and
Homeownership on Egalitarianism and
Individualism, by Place-of-Residence,
Controlling for Income
Constant 49.728** 59.131**
(2.074) (.967)
Rural Resident −2.571 .001
(2.967) (1.381)
Homeowner 3.318** −2.200**
(1.104) (.530)
Self-Employed 8.084** −3.513**
(2.623) (1.215)
Rural × Homeowner 3.404 −2.575*
(3.293) (1.537)
Rural × Self-Employed 7.712* −1.882
(4.617) (2.137)
Highest Income 13.408** −4.597**
($105,000 up)* (4.357) (2.056)
Middle Income −2.036 −.078
($35–$50,000) (2.422) (1.137)
Low Income −9.288** .555
($15–$30,000) (2.015) (.935)
Lowest Income −14.601** .805
(Under $15,000) (1.971) (.914)
N 3,265 3,382
F-Test 16.596 15.373
Sig. of F p .001 p .001
.05 .05
Ordinary Least Squares Regression; cell entries are OLS
regression coefficients (standard errors)
*Excluded Baseline Income Category is $50,000–$105,000.
Dependent Variable: Egalitarianism (Limited Government)
Factor Score, rescaled from 0–100 to facilitate interpretation.
Please contact authors for details on operationalization.
‡Models include controls for year of study not shown in
the table.
Source: American National Election Studies, 1996, 2000,
2004, weighted data.
**p .05; * .10
PSOnline 469
alone is not a highly significant explanatory factor in this in-
stance. However, the interaction of rural place-of-residence and
homeownership lowers commitment to equality, and the inter-
action of rural place-of-residence and self-employment increases
Furthermore, views about equality, individual rights and lim-
ited government are closely associated with—and perhaps deter-
minative of—the direction and strength of political party
identification ~see Figure 2!. Traditional moral views also play
an important role in shaping party allegiance, but they are not
the only source of Republican sympathy either in the rural elec-
torate, or the electorate at large.
Weeding out the Failures:
Labor Market Migration
Corporate America has extended its reach from farming into
small-town banking, wholesale and retail trade, and, increas-
ingly, service delivery. True, corporate interests, such as agricul-
tural middlemen in meatpacking and food processing, are
sometimes at odds with the interests of farmers and ranchers,
but other rural Americans have come to depend on employment
with these companies. Besides, government rarely has shown
any willingness to regulate the consolidation and concentration
of these industries, so there is little the small producer can do
politically to effectuate change. They have learned that neither
party will respond to complaints, so they struggle on or find
work elsewhere.
The economic consequences of globalization have been
mixed. Large corporations are often viewed as hostile to the
interests of Main Street, as we see in the various battles Wal-
Mart has faced when trying to locate stores in certain areas. But
in almost every case, when a “big-box” store moves in, one
person’s loss is someone else’s gain. Rural residents appreciate
shopping in big-inventory stores with a wide range of inexpen-
sive merchandise. Consistent with their self-image as indepen-
dent entrepreneurs, small retailers often will close their
struggling enterprise, leaving town to find employment else-
where. Population mobility allows labor market supply and de-
mand to remain in equilibrium in rural America. The next time
a pollster calls rural residents, a large share of those who have
failed economically in the preceding decade may no longer be
there to answer the telephone, while those who remain report
that the local economy has remained about the same. Political
discontent in reaction to economic downturn is difficult to
gauge because different people constitute the rural electorate in
each successive election.
The challenging task for the student of rural economic griev-
ance is to locate the displaced rural workers who would be
more likely to express economic discontent. Economic decline
in rural areas typically has been accompanied by steady popula-
tion losses, whereas this has been less true of metro areas facing
the same extent of decline. Table 2 shows that net migration
~population gain minus population loss due to mobility!be-
tween 1990 and 2000 dropped in rural locations as a conse-
quence of rising unemployment in the previous decade and the
base level of agricultural employment in 1990. Notably, it is the
change in unemployment that drives out-migration in rural
areas, not the absolute level of unemployment ~or income!. Res-
idents of many rural counties that have experienced sustained
high unemployment rates over long periods have learned to live
with a modicum of joblessness. Metropolitan locations, how-
ever, saw no corresponding drop in migration as a consequence
of rising unemployment.
Because of the stigma associated with public assistance, rural
Americans who struggle economically and have no family to
Figure 2
Beliefs about Limited Government and Equality, and the Direction and
Strength of Party Identification
470 PS July 2006
draw upon for support usually leave. This migration can be pro-
hibitively costly, but White rural out-migrants will not usually
meet the kind of racial discrimination that traps African Ameri-
cans in bad urban labor markets. As long as one has the means
to pack up, travel, and afford a first- and last-month’s rent pay-
ment at the destination, labor market migration can proceed
with some efficiency. The massive 20th-century outflow of labor
surpluses from the rural South to northern cities and from the
Midwest and southern plains to the nation’s west coast are clear
examples of the human capital generalization that people move
from areas of poor opportunity to places where jobs can be
found. Rural locations consistently have lower unemployment
rates than big cities, not because the rural economy is always
better, but because of the way in which rural workers respond to
hard times.
Nearly all contemporary surveys show that rural Americans
are more religiously and morally conservative than those living
elsewhere. They are more family-oriented and adhere to tradi-
tional values. But these are not the only reasons why they have
been less inclined to vote for Democrats in contemporary
presidential elections. In spite of prevailing low income, their
individualistic ethic and legacy of self-
employment and home-ownership in-
clines them to adopt the self-image of
the independent entrepreneur and prop-
erty owner rather than that of the laborer
in need of state regulation and protec-
tion. Perhaps it is for this reason that
allegiance to the New Deal was tempo-
rary and fleeting in most of the nation’s
rural areas ~Gimpel and Schuknecht
Rural Republican voters are not daft.
Serious inquiry into a subject must not
begin by taking a prejudicial posture
toward it—even if the promulgation of
common stereotypes makes the storyline
easy to believe. To the extent that we
can say that the electoral color of rural
America is Republican red rather than
Democratic blue, we can cite a variety
of concrete explanations for this trend,
some anchored in moral views and reli-
gious beliefs and others anchored in
economic considerations. The Republi-
can emphasis on personal effort, limited
government, and free markets fits com-
fortably within this self-image. There
are always exceptions to these core
commitments, but these are easily ratio-
nalized without abandoning basic
Labor market out-migration has kept
the supply and demand for labor in a
respectable equilibrium, resulting in
lower unemployment rates in small
towns than in larger cities. Certainly
there are rural counties with high un-
employment rates ~Appalachian poverty
comes readily to mind!, but the scale of
the problem is small relative to urban
unemployment. Legions of Appalachian
families have packed up and moved to Atlanta, Charlotte, Cin-
cinnati, and other growing cities, leaving their hometowns
smaller but with less poverty and unemployment than would
have been present otherwise. These moves usually result in
substantial improvements in income for the displaced, al-
though the rural poor sometimes become the urban poor.
Those who remain in rural areas arguably suffer less than
if the surplus labor would have remained in surplus. Rural
industries regularly resort to importing immigrants to fill jobs
in food processing industries that were once filled by the
Perhaps rural Americans report greater life satisfaction be-
cause steady out-migration in the face of globalization has made
rural life sustainable at an acceptable, though far from luxuri-
ous, standard-of-living. Rural voters with economic grievances
against government are fewer and further between than in cities
and suburbs. Perhaps we now have the explanation for why Bar-
tels’ ~2006!analysis shows that working class White voters po-
sition themselves closer to the Republican Party than to the
Democrats on economic issues. The Democrats are not an at-
tractive party for rural Americans, not only because of their po-
sitions on commonly understood issues of morality politics ~gay
rights, abortion, or prayer in schools!but also because many
rural Americans doubt whether typical Democratic economic
positions fit with what they believe is true about themselves and
the world.
Table 2
Predictors of Net Migration between 1990 and 2000 in U.S.
Counties, by County Size
Constant −16.261** −19.547** −30.068**
(4.984) (3.018) (3.343)
Increase in Unemployment 1980–1990 −.443** −.393** .113
(.141) (.088) (.117)
Median Income 1990 (1000s) −.008 .071 .296**
(.091) (.053) (.040)
Median Age 1990 .622** .703** .775**
(.111) (.073) (.090)
Percent in Agriculture 1990 −.288** −.317** .243**
(.048) (.032) (.083)
Percent in Manufacturing 1990 .042 −.033 −.104**
(.054) (.028) (.029)
Population Density 1990 (1,000s) −3.377 −5.979** −.769**
(3.304) (1.759) (.143)
Spatial Lag of Net Migration .389** .520** .535**
in Neighboring Countries (.037) (.025) (.026)
N 665 1,450 1,666
Log-Likelihood −2,565.05 −5,443.77 −6,415.22
Sig. of ll p .0001 p .0001 p .0001
.32 .41 .32
Spatially Weighted Regression; ML Estimation; cell entries are regression coefficients
(standard errors)
Dependent Variable: % Growth or Decline Due to Net Migration between 1990 and
Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Paul R. Voss, Scott McNiven, Roger B. Hammer,
and Kenneth M. Johnson. County Specific Net Migration by Five-Year Age Groups,
Hispanic Origin, Race and Sex, 1990–2000. Ann Arbor, MI: Interuniversity Consor-
tium for Political and Social Research.
**p .05; * .10
PSOnline 471
1. These figures are based on the more expansive definition of rural as
non-metro counties with a population of less than 25,000. If we use the stricter
definition of less than 10,000, the rural population is even less Southern with
38% of voting-age residents residing in Deep South and Border states.
2. We will not address suburbs or their increasing economic and politi-
cal heterogeneity in great detail in this essay. While suburbs now house a
majority of the American electorate, it is also clear that Democrats compete
successfully for suburban voters in presidential and congressional elections.
The Democrats have no “suburban problem” of comparable proportion to
their “rural problem.”
3. At this point one should take note that Thomas Frank is not from
rural Kansas, but from an affluent suburb of Kansas City, which is arguably
as culturally remote from rural western Kansas as a suburb of Chicago, St.
Louis, or New York.
Bartels, Larry. 2006. “What’s the Matter with What’s the Matter with Kan-
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Buttel, Frederick H., and William L. Flinn. 1975. “Sources and Conse-
quences of Agrarian Values in American Society.” Rural Sociology 40:
Drury, Renee, and Luther Tweeten. 1997. “Have Farmers Lost their Unique-
ness?” Review of Agricultural Economics 19: 58–90.
Engels, Friedrich. 1975. The Housing Question. Moscow: Progress
Feldman, Stanley. 1988. “Structure and Consistency in Public Opinion: The
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Feldman, Stanley, and John Zaller. 1992. “The Political Culture of Ambiva-
lence: Ideological Responses to the Welfare State.” American Journal of
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Flinn, William L., and Frederick H. Buttel. 1980. “Sociological Aspects of
Farm Size: Ideological and Social Consequences of Scale in Agricul-
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Frank, Thomas. 2004. What’s the Matter with Kansas: How Conservatives
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472 PS July 2006
... According to this line of thinking, then, the urban-rural divide results from geographic demographic sorting, with right-wing sympathizers increasingly moving to (or remaining in) rural areas, and left-wing supporters concentrating in urban areas (Bishop and Cushing 2009;Brown and Enos 2021). Though urban-rural political divisions to some extent are accounted for by differences in demographic makeup across population density, it is also worth noting that the prevalence of geographic sorting has been challenged empirically by different researchers (such as: Abrams and Fiorina 2012;Darmofal and Strickler 2016;Gimpel and Karnes 2006;Mummolo and Nall 2017). ...
... These different reasons may work in countervailing ways, which would nullify urban-rural differences. First, rural residents tend to be lower in socioeconomic status and education level, on average, compared to their non-rural counterparts (Gimpel and Karnes 2006). Individual-level participation in politics stems from various factors, including disposable re-sources, time availability, civic skills or political knowledge (Brady et al. 1995), a sense of civic duty (Brady et al. 1995;Gerber et al. 2008), and interest in politics or an issue (Schlozman et al. 2018). ...
Existing studies on the contemporary U.S. urban-rural divide have neglected its potential role in non-voting political participation. Theoretically, there are mixed expectations: for example, higher social capital in rural areas, alongside a generally older population, suggest rural areas should have greater political participation. Conversely, lower socioeconomic indicators and more physical distance barriers suggest the opposite. Using nationally stratified survey data from the 2018 CCES ( N = 61,000) and 2020 CES ( N = 60,000), we find that specific participation behaviors do not consistently vary across the urban-rural spectrum, controlling for demographic variables. The few consistently significant differences relate to the nature of location-based access. For instance, using 2020 and 2021 ACLED data, we find that an activity where non-rural residents participate more—protesting—occurs less often in rural areas, thus stymieing participation opportunities for rural and small-town residents. Alternatively, rural and small-town residents are consistently more likely to put up a sign, which may reflect a greater incidence of living in houses with yards compared to urban residents. Social media political participation behaviors do not yield urban-rural differences, further suggesting that once geographic access-related barriers are removed, participation rates are essentially similar across the urban-rural spectrum.
... The outcome of national elections in various European states, dynamics in the United States of America (Hochschild, 2017;Maxwell, 2019;McKee, 2008) and endeavours to leave the European Union (EU), such as Brexit, have given rise to an awareness that educational background has been joined by geography as a key determining factor in political debate and positioning. The simplified version posits the "right-wing countryside" against the "left-wing city" (Andersson et al., 2009;Burschel, 2010;Emanuele, 2018;Gimpel and Karnes, 2006;Ivaldi and Gombin, 2015). Cities are associated with political, economic and -particularly -cultural elites in almost all cases. ...
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This book examines the highly ambivalent implications and effects of anti-elitism. It draws on this theme as a cross-cutting entry point to provide transdisciplinary analysis of current conjunctures and their contradictions, drawing on examples from popular culture and media, politics, fashion, labour and spatial arrangements. Using the toolboxes of media and discourse analysis, hegemony theory, ethnography, critical social psychology and cultural studies more broadly, the book surveys and theorizes the forms, the implications and the ambiguities and limits of anti-elitist formations in different parts of the world. Anti-elitist sentiments colour the contemporary political conjuncture as much as they shape pop cultural and media trends. Populists, right-wing authoritarian ones and others, direct their anger at cultural, political and, sometimes, economic elites while supporting other elites and creating new ones. At the same time, "elitist" knowledge and expertise, decision-making power and taste regimes are being questioned in societal transformations that are discussed much more positively under headlines such as participation or democratization. The book brings together a group of international, interdisciplinary case studies in order to better understand the ways in which the battle cry "against the elites" shapes current conjunctures and possible future politics, focusing on themes such as nationalist political discourse in India, Austria, the UK and Hungary, labour struggles and anti-oligarchy rhetoric in Russia, tax-avoiding elites and fiscal imaginaries, working-class agency, Melania Trump as a celebrity narrative in Slovenia, aesthetic codes of the Alt-Right, football hooliganism in Germany, "hipster hate" in German political discourse or the politics of expertise and anti-elite iconography in high fashion internationally. The book is intended for undergraduates, postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers.
... 4 Alas, however, data availability is a key limitation in empirical research, particularly when broadening the scope of analysis to the global scale. Overall, in our approach we follow the recent literature exploring the geographies of urban/rural sociocultural polarisation (Cramer, 2016;Gimpel & Karnes, 2006;Gimpel et al., 2020;Huijsmans et al., 2021;Maxwell, 2019;Scala & Johnson, 2017;Scala, Johnson, & Rogers, 2015). ...
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In contrast to the conservative values of rural populations, cities are often seen as bulwarks of more tolerant, liberal, and progressive values. This urban-rural divide in values has become one of the major fault lines in western democracies, underpinning major political events of the last decade, not least the election of Donald Trump. Yet, beyond a small number of countries, there is little evidence that cities really are more liberal than rural areas. Evolutionary modernisation theory suggests that socio-economic development may lead to the spread of, progressive, self-expression values but provides little guidance on the role of cities in this process. Has an urban-rural split in values developed across the world? And does this gap depend on the economic development of a country? We answer these questions using a large cross-sectional dataset covering 66 countries. Despite the inherent challenges in identifying and operationalising a globally-consistent definition of what is ‘urban’, we show that there are marked and significant urban-rural differences in progressive values, defined as tolerant attitudes to immigration, gender rights, and family life. These differences exist even when controlling for observable compositional effects, suggesting that cities do play a role in the spread of progressive values. Yet, these results only apply at higher levels of economic development suggesting that, for cities to leave behind rural areas in terms of liberal values, the satisfying of certain material needs is a prerequisite.
... SAH, stay-at-home. [51][52][53] leading to stayat-home orders being delayed, cut short, or both, and with less enforcement of mobility restrictions. Furthermore, rural residents tend to have an older population, 54 which may affect how vulnerable rural populations are to the virus. ...
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Objective We examined the association between stay-at-home order implementation and the incidence of COVID-19 infections and deaths in rural versus urban counties of the United States. Design We used an interrupted time-series analysis using a mixed effects zero-inflated Poisson model with random intercept by county and standardised by population to examine the associations between stay-at-home orders and county-level counts of daily new COVID-19 cases and deaths in rural versus urban counties between 22 January 2020 and 10 June 2020. We secondarily examined the association between stay-at-home orders and mobility in rural versus urban counties using Google Community Mobility Reports. Interventions Issuance of stay-at-home orders. Primary and secondary outcome measures Co-primary outcomes were COVID-19 daily incidence of cases (14-day lagged) and mortality (26-day lagged). Secondary outcome was mobility. Results Stay-at-home orders were implemented later (median 30 March 2020 vs 28 March 2020) and were shorter in duration (median 35 vs 54 days) in rural compared with urban counties. Indoor mobility was, on average, 2.6%–6.9% higher in rural than urban counties both during and after stay-at-home orders. Compared with the baseline (pre-stay-at-home) period, the number of new COVID-19 cases increased under stay-at-home by incidence risk ratio (IRR) 1.60 (95% CI, 1.57 to 1.64) in rural and 1.36 (95% CI, 1.30 to 1.42) in urban counties, while the number of new COVID-19 deaths increased by IRR 14.21 (95% CI, 11.02 to 18.34) in rural and IRR 2.93 in urban counties (95% CI, 1.82 to 4.73). For each day under stay-at-home orders, the number of new cases changed by a factor of 0.982 (95% CI, 0.981 to 0.982) in rural and 0.952 (95% CI, 0.951 to 0.953) in urban counties compared with prior to stay-at-home, while number of new deaths changed by a factor of 0.977 (95% CI, 0.976 to 0.977) in rural counties and 0.935 (95% CI, 0.933 to 0.936) in urban counties. Each day after stay-at-home orders expired, the number of new cases changed by a factor of 0.995 (95% CI, 0.994 to 0.995) in rural and 0.997 (95% CI, 0.995 to 0.999) in urban counties compared with prior to stay-at-home, while number of new deaths changed by a factor of 0.969 (95% CI, 0.968 to 0.970) in rural counties and 0.928 (95% CI, 0.926 to 0.929) in urban counties. Conclusion Stay-at-home orders decreased mobility, slowed the spread of COVID-19 and mitigated COVID-19 mortality, but did so less effectively in rural than in urban counties. This necessitates a critical re-evaluation of how stay-at-home orders are designed, communicated and implemented in rural areas.
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Scholarly thought is that planning should be an opportunity for the interface of systems and methodologies that lead to consensus building in addressing the needs of communities. This is because planning is ‘a process which involves decisions on alternative ways of using available resources, to achieve particular goals at some time in the future.' Development is 'the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land.' These definitions miss the planner, who is supposed to champion the development planning processes. In Zimbabwe and other developing countries, the discussion on the efficacy of planning has shifted from the technical to the professional. With the advances made in technology, the increasing civic awareness among both rural and urban communities, planning standards are going down. In urban areas, there is increasing urban sprawl, traffic congestion, environmental degradation, and general disorder. All these issues have led to the need to (re)look at the issue of professional planning practice.
Long-standing discussions of the so-called urban-rural divide in the United States have uncovered meaningful differences between urbanites and rural residents, but much of this work has focused on political attitudes. However, there is reason to believe that geographic divides also influence Americans' science attitudes, including, for example, positive affect toward scientists and levels of trust in them. Unfortunately, existing work has not clearly ruled out confounding factors such as religiosity, political views, media habits, and conspiracism. This brief article addresses this problem by drawing on survey data from 2016 to test the hypothesis that rural residency will be associated with colder feelings toward the scientific community, even with controls in place. The results offer support for this expectation. These findings lend support to recent arguments that rural Americans' science attitudes are influenced by factors that go beyond demographics, conspiracism, political polarization, differences of religiosity, and (partisan) media consumption.
The purpose of the present study is to examine the farmers’ participation in weather index insurance (WII) based on a socio-demographic perspective in Madhya Pradesh province of India. The present study is based on freely accessible government data on crop insurance in India by adopting the content analysis technique. This review study aims to analyze the significance of farmers’ socio-demographic factors in WII participation from the perspective of gender, social class and size of land holding of farmers. Findings reveal that more than fifty-six percent of participating farmers are marginal and small farmers. However, only fifteen percent of participating farmers belong to the socially depressed class. Finding confirms that WII is successfully operated only in fifteen districts of Madhya Pradesh province, while farmers’ participation in the majority of districts is not satisfactory. The present study can be helpful in designing a better public policy for promoting the farmers’ participation in WII.
La presente investigación aborda la campaña permanente llevada a cabo durante una década por el Partido Demócrata de Georgia, Estados Unidos. Cómo lograron tras veinte años de mayoría republicana, convertir al Estado en un campo de batalla político y competitivo. Se realiza una exposición del razonamiento y análisis que se ha desarrollado con el fin de entender desde la planificación hasta su ejecución. La investigación emplea bibliografía, así como entrevistas a expertos y miembros del partido. Por último, se exponen los resultados que ha tenido, así como los futuros retos.
The rise of the knowledge economy has led to a bifurcation between prosperous, often urban, areas and “left‐behind” regions. While the literature has started to analyse the political implications of these developments for electoral behaviour and socio‐cultural attitudes, the structuring of social policy preferences by place remains unclear. Distinguishing between an economic (booming‐declining) and a geographic (urban–rural) dimension, I argue that differences in material self‐interest and ideological predispositions explain spatial divides in support for different types of social policies. Combining original survey data on voters' preferences with municipal‐level data in Germany, I show that general support for social policy is higher in declining than in booming regions. However, social investments (e.g., active labour market policies) are preferred over consumption policies (e.g., unemployment benefits) in booming and, to a smaller degree, in urban than in declining and rural regions. These findings contribute to a bigger discussion on compensating “left‐behind” regions. Die zunehmend wissensbasierte Wirtschaft hat zu einer Zweiteilung zwischen wohlhabenden, oft städtischen Gebieten und «abgehängten» Regionen geführt. Während die politischen Auswirkungen dieser Entwicklungen auf das Wahlverhalten und die soziokulturellen Einstellungen zunehmend analysiert werden, bleibt die Strukturierung sozialpolitischer Präferenzen nach Regionen unklar. Ich unterscheide zwischen einer wirtschaftlichen (Aufschwung‐Abschwung) und einer geografischen (Stadt‐Land) Dimension und argumentiere, dass Unterschiede im materiellen Eigeninteresse und in den ideologischen Einstellungen die räumlichen Unterschiede in der Unterstützung verschiedener Arten von Sozialpolitik erklären. Durch das Kombinieren von Umfragedaten mit Daten auf kommunaler Ebene in Deutschland zeige ich, dass die allgemeine Unterstützung für Sozialpolitik in ökonomisch rückläufigen Regionen höher ist als in boomenden Regionen. Allerdings werden soziale Investitionen (z.B. aktive Arbeitsmarktpolitik) in boomenden – und zu einem geringeren Masse in städtischen – Regionen gegenüber konsumtiven Maßnahmen (z.B. Arbeitslosengelder) bevorzugt; gegenteilig zu ökonomisch rückläufigen und ländlichen Regionen. Diese Ergebnisse tragen zu einer breiteren Diskussion über den Ausgleich für «abgehängte» Regionen bei. L'essor de l'économie du savoir a entraîné une bifurcation entre des zones prospères, souvent urbaines, et des régions « déconnectées ». La structuration des préférences en matière de politique sociale en fonction du lieu reste floue. En distinguant deux dimensions (boom économique – décroissance, et urbain – rural), je soutiens que les différences d'intérêt matériel et les prédispositions idéologiques expliquent les divisions spatiales dans le soutien à différents types de politiques sociales. En combinant des données d'enquête avec des données au niveau communal en Allemagne, je montre que le soutien général à la politique sociale est plus élevé dans les régions en déclin économique que dans les régions en plein essor. Toutefois, les politiques d'activation sont préférées aux mesures de consommation (par exemple, les allocations de chômage) dans les régions en plein essor, et dans une moindre mesure dans les régions urbaines. Ces résultats contribuent à un débat plus large sur la compensation pour les régions « déconnectées ».
Drawing on a unique battery of questions fielded on the 2018 CCES and in two separate surveys—one in 2019 and the other during the 2020 election—we study the extent to which Americans feel animus toward communities that are geographically distinct from their own and whether these feelings explain Americans’ attitudes toward the two major political parties and self-reported vote choice. We report results on how place-based resentment predicted vote choice in the 2018 midterm and 2020 general elections and how those feelings relate to other widely studied facets of political behavior such as partisanship and racial resentment. Rural resentment is a powerful predictor of vote choice in both election years examined.
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The purpose of this article is to test the widely shared view that the experience of industrial democracy, the experience of direct decision making at places of work, necessarily leads to the enhancement of cooperative and egalitarian orientations among participants. Based on data collected through indepth interviews and questionnaires in Pacific-Northwest plywood cooperatives, the article argues that in market societies, such experiment in industrial democracy do not have the hypothesized results. Indeed, they seem to encourage the development of values most closely identified with classical liberalism or what MacPherson terms @'possessive individualism.@'
Modern technology, communication, transportation, and economics have transformed the farming industry and may have altered the typical farmer's character and personality. However, this study concludes that farmers have not lost their uniqueness. Results indicate that farmers differ from the general population in some aspects of morality, political ideology, work ethic, and outlook. Compared with the general population, the farm family is more stable, and the typical farmer is more religious, politically more conservative, and happier and more satisfied with some aspects of life. In many respects, particularly those concerning work ethic and outlook, farmers are not significantly different from others. They are more satisfied with their jobs, which appears to be a function of self-employment. As a group, farmers are among the better-adjusted members of society. They are optimistic and have a healthy outlook in terms of interpersonal relationships and general viewpoint.
Research on agrarian political behavior in the United States is scant. The comprehensive treatment that farm politics received in The American Voter has not been approached elsewhere. In that important investigation, based on an analysis of the 1952-1956 elections, farmers were portrayed as the least politically involved group in our society. When placed in the context of their more general geographic and social isolation, as Campbell and his colleagues do, this description of the politically detached farmer becomes especially convincing. However, according to the more recent data presented in this paper, farmers are no longer the extremely marginal political actors they have been traditionally. On the contrary, they emerge as one of the politically active elements of the electorate. Moreover, this attention to politics is sustained rather than sporadic, as in the past. These recent characteristics of agrarian political behavior are interesting because they represent such a turnabout from historical patterns, and because they describe the current politics of the nation's food producers, an interest group which is assuming increasing importance.
Historical rural American political behavior has revolved around the three themes of radicalism, conservatism, and apathy. Post-World War II research on urban-rural differ ences reveals little support either for contemporary rural radicalism or greater political apathy in rural areas. However, rural citizens, particularly farmers, exhibit more conservative political orientations than metropolitan populations. The reapportionment revolution of the 1960s, which proponents thought would reduce rural advantage in state and national government, has not noticeably altered social policy outputs of state legislatures or the Congress in a more liberal, urban- oriented direction. The Electoral College currently under- represents rural influence in electing the president, although various alternatives tend to discriminate in reverse. Future trends suggest a diminishing political difference between rural and urban populations. Exposure of rural residents to mass media and the interchange of populations between geographic areas imply a gradual homogenization of social, cultural, and political values which will ultimately render country and city indistinguishable in terms of political behavior. Other social dimensions play a more central role in political conflict than the rural-urban dimension. Leaving aside the possibility of an unforeseen crisis, rural interests are unlikely to capture national political attention.