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McCain Loses Lead in Rural American Voters: Poll
    2008-10-24 04:35:19     Xinhua

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and his wife Cindy wave to supporters at a campaign stop at All Star Building Materials in Ormond Beach, Florida October 23, 2008. [Photo: Xinhua/Reuters]

Republican presidential candidate John McCain lost his lead in rural American voters as more of them favored his Democratic rival, Barack Obama, in handling the country's economic crisis, said a poll released on Thursday.

According to the survey conducted by the Center for Rural Strategies, Obama slightly led McCain by 46 percent to 45 percent among the 841 likely rural voters in 13 battleground states including New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

About 49 percent of rural voters favored Obama on key issue of the economy, while 40 percent supported McCain in this regard.

The result was in strong contrast with a poll released a month ago, showing McCain led by 51 percent to 41 percent among rural voters.

"That is really bad news for John McCain," said Seth McKee, a political scientist at the University of South Florida, to the National Public Radio on the survey. "If the rural vote is essentially split in these swing states, then John McCain's certain to lose."

McKee told the radio that rural voters in battleground states were so essential to President George W. Bush's election in 2000 and re-election in 2004 that they "drove his victory."

However, Republican media consultant Bill Greener said in the radio interview that he believed the three-week period of the survey, from Oct. 1 to 21, could be different from the rest two weeks before the election day.

Rural Americans, who account for about 20 percent of the total populations, are mostly social and fiscal conservatives. President Bush beat his rival, John Kerry, in rural districts nationwide by 19 points in 2004.



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