Poll: Romney has big lead in rural swing counties

NPR finds a surge for Mitt Romney in rural America since the first debate:  

The random cellphone and land line poll poll of 600 likely rural voters in nine battleground states Oct. 9-11 has Romney at 59 percent among the survey's respondents. Obama's support is now down to 37 percent among rural battleground voters, a plunge of 10 points from the actual rural vote in those states four years ago.

The bipartisan survey was conducted by North Star Opinion Research (Republican) and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (Democratic). 

"Voters in rural areas were holding back from Mitt Romney for a variety of reasons," Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg told NPR. "The debate went a long way to making rural voters more comfortable with him in the way they were comfortable with George Bush."

Obama's field team successfully won over rural areas in Colorado and Iowa last cycle, but polls show a more uphill battle with those voters this time around. 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · October 16, 2012