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Businessman Donald Trump proved to be popular among rural voters in South Carolina’s Republican primary Saturday.
In the Democratic caucus in Nevada, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders did a bit better than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton among rural caucus-goers. But that slight advantage wasn’t enough to stop Clinton from winning the statewide contest.
In South Carolina’s Republican contest, Trump won among voters in all three types of counties the Daily Yonder tracked in its election analysis.
(We looked at metropolitan areas [counties that have cities of 50,000 residents and up, or close economic ties to such a county], “micropolitan” areas [counties with a city of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000], and rural areas [counties with no city of 10,000 or greater– you’ll also see these referred to as “noncore” counties.)
Trump took metropolitan areas with about 32 percent of the vote. His popularity increased in micropolitan counties, where he received about 35 percent of the Republican tally. He was most popular among rural voters, 41 percent of whom supported the New York businessman.
Second and third place, which went to Rubio and Cruz respectively, were separated by only 1,500 votes, or 0.2 percent of the statewide turnout of 713,000.
Rubio saw a slight decline in rural support, while Cruz fared a little better among rural voters than he did with metropolitan ones. Those extra votes weren’t enough to lift him into second place, however. And neither of the challengers came anywhere close to overcoming Trump’s 72,000 vote advantage.
With three primaries finished, there’s not much of a trend among rural voters on the GOP side of the contest. Cruz won both metro and nonmetro voters in Iowa. In New Hampshire, Trump won both metro and nonmetro voters, but was a little less popular among nonmetropolitan voters than he was with metropolitan ones. In other words, his performance in the Granite State was the opposite of how he performed with rural voters in South Carolina.
Clinton’s Metro Advantage Creates Statewide Victory in Nevada
In the Nevada Democratic caucus, also held Saturday, Sanders proved to be more popular with micropolitan and rural voters, where he won about 52 percent of the vote in each category. But caucus goers outside metropolitan areas accounted for less than 10 percent of the overall turnout, so the advantage was not enough to overcome Clinton’s 53 percent share of the metropolitan vote.
Nevada is the second state where a majority of voters or cacus-goers outside metropolitan areas has favored Sanders over Clinton. Sanders beat Clinton by 29 points among New Hampshire’s nonmetropolitan voters. Clinton’s slight rural advantage among Iowa caucus-goers last month gave her just enough votes to squeak by Sanders in the caucus.