Rural voters are economic populists.

We’re excited to share the results of a new survey of small-town and rural Americans. We commissioned this large survey of battleground voters as a resource for our network. The responses demonstrate that rural people are economic populists and support pro-democracy, pro-worker, and pro-climate issues. Yet many rural and small-town residents, particularly people of color, young people, and independent women, are undecided about the upcoming election. The results reaffirm the need to invest in organizing and communications work that engages rural and small-town communities. 

A diverse array of rural voters appears to be potentially in play: More open to Biden, more negative on Trump, or more undecided

Key Takeaways

The poll explores rural attitudes and points to ways to engage rural communities in governing majorities that build power toward a thriving democracy and shared prosperity. Here are a few of the top findings. 

  • 15% of rural and small-town residents, 28% of people of color, and 24% of young people are undecided about the upcoming election. That’s enough to swing state and federal elections. They also report that they hear much more from conservatives than they do progressives.
  • 57% of rural battleground voters agree with President Biden: “We should grow our economy by getting more money in the pockets of working people, not corporations.” Rural and small-town people consistently support populist economic policies and want the government to ensure that everyday people have the resources and opportunities to build their families and our communities. 76% would be more favorable to a leader who supports “requiring rich people and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes to invest in tools and opportunities for working people.” 86% support banning junk fees. 
  • Rural and small-town people overwhelmingly believe in personal freedom from government interference. 74% agree that abortion should be legal.
  • 92% of rural battleground voters agree that we should shift government support from corporate agribusinesses to small and independent family farms.
  • Rising housing costs dominate the concerns of rural battleground voters - 96% say it’s a problem, and 68% say it’s a major problem.

About the Poll

This unique battleground poll includes 1,713 likely 2024 voters in rural and small-town zip codes in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The poll oversamples of Black, Latino/a, and Native American voters. This data ensures a more accurate and detailed analysis, which is critical given that 24% of rural Americans are Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Breakthrough Campaigns conducted the poll in late March 2024. They are a leading national polling firm with rural expertise, including recent work to protect abortion and expand access to Medicaid.

Learn more

See our Poll Summary for detailed results. This research is part of our ongoing work to better understand and advocate for rural communities.