The Republican primary vote in Nevada's rural (non metropolitan) counties.

[imgcontainer] [img:2012NevadaRPrimary.jpg] [source]Daily Yonder[/source] The Republican primary vote in Nevada’s rural (non-metropolitan) counties. [/imgcontainer]

The urban press was convinced that rural Nevada was Rep. Ron Paul country.

“Paul Counting on Rural Nevadans” read the headline in Politico.  “Ron Paul’s Last Stand” was in rural Nevada, wrote Molly Ball in The Atlantic.

Ball explained the phenomenon by talking with Beth Rupp in Pahrump, Nevada, about why “rural Nevadans gravitate toward Paul.” 

“”We’re all liberty-loving people,” Rupp told The Atlantic writer. “We came to Pahrump because there’s less government in our lives here. We want our freedom. We want our space.”

So how’d that rural vote work out for Rep. Paul in the Nevada primary Saturday? Check out the chart above and you’ll see that the rural Nevada stories were largely hype. 

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney won the state Saturday with half the vote. He won 43.1 percent of the rural vote. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in second with 21.1% of the vote, winning 23.6 percent of the rural vote.

And Ron Paul. He notched a third both statewide and in rural Nevada. The Texan won 19.4 percent of the rural vote, only slightly better than his 18.7 percent statewide tally.

Romney continues to underperform in rural counties. His rural take in all the primaries has fallen below his stateside and urban percentages. But the differences aren’t great.

And there is no clear rural alternatives. All of Romney’s opponents appear to pick up a few percentage points in rural areas, Paul no more than either Gingirch or former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

Next stop, the Colorado primary Tuesday. See Wednesday’s Daily Yonder for the breakdown of the vote.

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