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Support For Stewart Inches Closer To Suburban And Urban Areas

Michael Pope

Voting results in the recent Republican primary for U.S. Senate show some signs that the traditional urban-rural divide may be slipping a bid.

When Corey Stewart ran for governor last year, almost half his support came from rural areas. This year in the U.S. Senate primary, he relied less on rural voters and picked up support from urban and suburban voters — according to a geographical analysis of votes by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Click Here to See VPAP's Analysis

Quentin Kidd at Christopher Newport University says that’s a good sign for Republicans this fall. “Where Corey Stewart has growth potential in terms of picking up votes is in suburban and urban areas, and so the fact that he did better in this Republican primary in those areas is a good indication for him, a good sign for him.

Stephen Farnsworth at the University of Mary Washington says these numbers may indicate an important shift. “These results do suggest that there’s a Trumpification of the Virginia Republican Party. The differences between urban, suburban and rural Virginia seem to be less distinct in 2018 than they were a year earlier.”

That could spell trouble for moderates, he says, although it will make it easier for Republican candidates in the future because they won’t have to tailor separate messages for urban, suburban and rural voters.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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