By Mark Moran - Producer-Editor, Contact - News


Big Sky Connection - New research says voters in rural American battleground states, including Montana, tend to support "economic populist" ideas, and report they aren't hearing the right political messages from either party. Comments from Patrick Toomey, researcher and partner, Breakthrough Campaigns.

Click on the image above for the audio.  Montana is among 10 election battleground states featured in a new report on attitudes of rural American voters. (Adobe Stock)

Mark Moran

May 15, 2024 - A new report by the Rural Democracy Initiative shows voters in key battleground states, including Montana, could play a significant role in the 2024 elections -- but only if the right messenger knocks on their door.

The survey interviewed more than 1,700 rural and small town voters in 10 battleground states.

Patrick Toomey, researcher and partner of Breakthrough Campaigns, said the voters consider themselves "economic populists" who support a progressive political agenda and think things could be better for them, but do not fall into the traditional rural voter stereotype.

"Rural voters do feel like things are getting worse for them and in their communities, economically," Toomey explained. "It's very clear that rural voters are not a cultural monolith, either."

Toomey pointed out despite the importance of rural America in what could be a close election, the report indicated many respondents said they have not been contacted by anyone in either political party.

The survey found support for raising the minimum wage, protecting the right to form a union, and making child care more affordable. Toomey added rural voters also have strong opinions on abortion.

"Rural voters are opposed to abortion bans," Toomey emphasized. "They have nuanced views around abortion itself, but three-quarters either support it or don't want the government interfering in something that should be left up to women and their doctors."

The poll found 15% of rural voters in swing states are unsure of who they will vote for, or if they'll vote at all in this year's election.

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