Political commentators routinely treat rural America as an undifferentiated bastion of strength for Republicans. In fact, rural America is a deceptively simple term describing a diverse collection of places encompassing nearly 75 percent of the U.S. land area and 50 million people. Voting trends in this vast area are far from monolithic. Republican presidential candidates have generally done well in rural America, but there are important enclaves of Democratic strength there as well. In "battleground" states, these rural differences may have a significant impact on tightly contested elections.

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