Rural Voting Behavior in the 21st Century

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link






This dissertation provides an update of the literature on American rural political behavior. As a field of study, rural political behavior has been under studied, with the last influential piece of work being written in the 1960s. Since that time, popular culture and academia have relied on outdated work and antidotal evidence to perpetuate stereotypes about rural America. Utilizing the Cooperative Congressional Election Study from 2006 and 2008, I investigate numerous aspects of political behavior in rural America to paint a picture of 21st century rural politics. I find that even after accounting for standard compositional values, living in a rural area has a significant independent effect on some aspects of political behavior, such as president and self-reported party identification. However, rural residence does not account for a completely unique political behavior of its residents- some political attitudes are shared by both rural and urban residents, and rural residents are highly alike their suburban fringe neighbors. The findings in this dissertation highlight that rural America is not a static political environment, and should be given the same consideration that urban and suburban political behavior receive.