chapter  6
18 Pages

The Rural–Urban Gap

ByJames G. Gimpel, Kimberly A. Karnes

Recent presidential elections have revealed an urban-rural cleavage in vot-ing behavior that is hard to dismiss. Most observers now recognize that the election night maps showing the “red” states versus the “blue” actually mask an urban versus rural divide within states, a gap that recently has grown larger than ever. In 2004, the difference in Democratic support between the most and least populous counties in the United States exceeded 25 points (see Figure 6.1). Tabulations from the 2000 and 2004 American National Election Studies indicate a 20-point gap in presidential preference between people who live in counties with more than a million residents and those who live in counties with populations smaller than 25,000 (see Table 6.1).