Effective Messaging to Rural Voters

What would small town and rural Americans like to hear from organizations and elected officials about the issues facing their communities? How do they see the role of government in addressing small town and rural issues? We provide some insights in a new analysis, Lessons for Advocates in Small Town and Rural PollThe analysis explores these questions and more:

How many of us would like to run our own farm or business? Lots! Over half said "owning my own business or farm is a big part of the American dream for me." Entrepreneurial communities that support aspirations for people to own their own business will be attractive to a large segment of rural and small town Americans.

What do we think about government help for small business and beginning farmers? Rural Americans hold very strong support for investments in small business development and other forms of community and economic development. That support extends to beginning farmers. Over 85% of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents favor helping "small and owner-operated businesses and farms get started and grow through loans, tax credits, and training."

What do folks who don’t farm think about cutting farm programs to invest in small towns and rural communities? We found bipartisan support for shifts from big farms to broader rural and small town programs. But we found little support, irrespective of party affiliation, for across-the-board cuts in farm programs to fund rural development.

How do we feel about help for the working poor? Rural Americans are very responsive to messages that advocate assistance to the working poor. Six in 10 say government has some or a lot of responsibility to help the working poor advance economically. About half of Republicans and over 60% of Independents agree.
Check out our new report and the topline polling data at cfra.org/rural-poll.