Republican Donald Trump continued to do well among rural voters in the states that voted or caucused on Saturday.

Trump saw his percentage of the vote rise in rural counties and counties with small cities in Maine, Louisiana and Kentucky. In rural Kentucky, the New York City billionaire saw his take of the vote grow 16 percentage points over returns from metropolitan areas.

There was less of a trend in the Democratic primary. In 2008, when Hillary Clinton was battling Senator Barack Obama for the nomination, Clinton consistently did better in rural counties while Obama won the cities. This time around, Clinton and Senator Bernie Saunders take turns. Sometimes Clinton shows a rural advantage in some states; in other states, Saunders wins outside the cities.


The charts on this page break down the ge
ography of Saturday’s vote.  Rural counties are those outside a metropolitan area with no town larger than 10,000 people. Micropolitan counties lie outside metro areas, too, but they have towns between 10,000 and 50,000 people. Metro counties are in urban areas.

The most dramatic results came in the Kentucky Republican caucuses. There, Texas Senator Ted Cruz beat Trump in the cities by about 2 percentage points, but lost narrowly in the micropolitan counties (38.8% for Trump and 32.5% for Cruz). In rural Kentucky counties, however, Cruz lost to Trump by 17 percentage points.

There was an in-state pattern to Trump’s win in Kentucky. The New Yorker won up to 60 percent of the vote in many counties in the Eastern Kentucky coalfields and in rural southern Kentucky. But he lost to Cruz badly in far Western Kentucky and in the Bluegrass.

Trump had a slight advantage over Cruz in rural Louisiana. Trump won 41.9 percent of the vote in Cajun cities, increasing his take to 44.1 percent in rural parishes. But then Cruz also increased his share of the vote as the territory got more rural. Both Trump and Cruz appeared to gain votes from Senator Marco Rubio and Governor John Kasich, who lost share as the Louisiana vote grew more rural.


This is a recurring theme for Rubio. In most states, the Florida senator does better in the cities than he does outside metro regions.

The Democrats, as we’ve said, were all over the map. Former Secretary of State Clinton won all parts of Louisiana by landslides. Vermont Senator Sanders won Nebraska, but Clinton did better in rural counties (where she got 48.2 percent) than in the cities (where she received 42.4 percent).

Tuesday, Mississippi and Michigan Democrats vote. On the same day Republicans in Mississippi, Michigan, Idaho and Hawaii cast their ballots.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.