WASHINGTON — In Democratic primary elections this week, voters in Arkansas, Kentucky and West Virginia swung their support behind the insurgent presidential candidacy of a pair of lawn shears.

The results are the most significant sign yet of President Obama’s lackluster support among rural voters, particularly in Appalachia.

“Obama might be smart,” said John Skollferton of Little Rock, “but at least those shears won’t raise my gas prices.”

Not everyone is convinced, however, that the shears have the record of accomplishment necessary to lead the country in difficult economic times.

“What were those shears before that vagrant found them and began bringing them to campaign rallies, attracting the scrutiny of Secret Service agents?” asked Joan Fingleberry of Bowling Green, Ky.

It was populist rage against the exclusion of the shears from an Obama campaign event earlier this month that propelled them into the national spotlight.

“What does the president have to fear from a pair of sharp, rusty blades?” demanded Eleanor Janselfink of Morgantown, W.Va.

Some political analysts dismissed the shears’ candidacy as doomed. “The media likes a fight, so they will keep this story alive as long as possible,” said Alan Arbitswon of the Arvard College Center for Politics and Experimental Epistemology. “But the lawn shears are just a vessel into which angry voters have poured their discontent. Once they realize that the shears are incapable of even the most basic human interactions, the shears’ support will plummet.”

That problem, however, did not prevent Mitt Romney from winning the Republican presidential nomination, other experts pointed out.

The lawn shears ignored repeated requests for comment.