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Bush Losing Ground in Rural America [View All]

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Nicholas_J Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-20-04 01:06 PM
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Bush Losing Ground in Rural America
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Voters in struggling outlying areas tend to identify with his values, but economic concerns are alienating some lifelong Republicans.

By John M. Glionna, Times Staff Writer

SHERMAN COUNTY, Ore. Like much of rural America, this isolated community south of the Columbia River Gorge is a place where people like their parents before them vote Republican when they pick their presidents. They went with George W. Bush four years ago. And most are likely to support him again this year.

But cracks have surfaced in President Bush's once-solid rural constituency. From places like Sherman County to Montcalm County, Mich., and Mahoning County, Ohio, some Republicans are so concerned about crop prices and high unemployment that they're considering voting Democratic for the first time.

They're hardworking people like Sherman County farmer Tom Martin. As he plows the stubble of last autumn's wheat harvest on his 12,000-acre spread, the 60-year-old hears mostly grim economic news on his radio.

"I'm right there on the fence," Martin said. "Bush has lost my vote, but I'm just not excited about Kerry either. From where I sit, neither party has much regard for the little man. And that includes farmers."
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