Farm Vote Falls Short For Romney

DC Dialogue

Romney showed strength with rural vote, but not enough to change the dynamics on Capitol Hill.

Published on: November 8, 2012

Republican presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney improved Republicans showing among rural voters, but not enough to surpass President Barack Obama's strong support in urban centers.

Romney needed to breach the 60% threshold of rural voters.

Tuesday, he was close, but not enough to secure a win with just 59% of the rural vote. A few weeks ago a poll showed Romney was 22 points ahead of Obama at 59%.

The Daily Yonder reports that nationwide Mitt Romney's rural votes were at 59%, better than John McCain in 2008 with 54% and George W. Bush in 2004 at 57%.

Romney also improved slightly over McCain's 49.4% tally in the suburbs, winning 50.2%.

Gov. Mitt Romney fell short in rural areas and advantage and presidency goes to President Barack Obama.
Gov. Mitt Romney fell short in rural areas and advantage and presidency goes to President Barack Obama.

Tuesday Obama maintained his lead in the cities. Romney won only 35.9% of the vote in urban areas, no better than McCain's vote in 2008 and well below George W. Bush's 45.8% in 2004.

Once Ohio turned to Obama Tuesday night, I knew it was time to call it a night. Along with the national trends, Bill Bishop at the Daily Yonder reveals that rural and exurban votes could not overcome Obama's urban stronghold.

Romney did build up nearly a quarter of a million votes in Ohio's rural and exurban counties. However, Obama won 344,000 more votes in Ohio's cities and won the state by just over 100,000 votes. (Exurban counties are those that are within metropolitan regions, but where about half the people live in rural settings).

Bishop also noted that the vote was down more than a quarter of a million from 2008 in Ohio. That's a decline of 4.5% from 2008 to 2012. The rural vote was down by just over 5%; 53,000 fewer votes were cast in rural counties this year compared to four years ago, according to the analysis.

Rural voting results showed a similar trend in other swing states.

As for the other Congressional members, many of the names remain the same for agriculture.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., won a third term, while House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., was elected to an eleventh term. House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., also won re-election.

Six House Agriculture Committee members either lost in the general election or primary and one retired. In very close races, Rep. Steve Latham, R-Iowa, defeated Rep. Leonard Boswell, D- Iowa, while Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, edged out his Democratic opponent, Christie Vilsack.

Democrat Heidi Heitkamp beat Republican Rep. Rick Berg for the open North Dakota Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Kent Conrad. And in the Montana Senate seat, Democrat Sen. Jon Tester beat Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg.