Rural voters were the difference on Tuesday in Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho

Rural voters continue to be the difference in the presidential race, with Republicans that scored big this week in rural areas in Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi also winning the state, while rural Michigan was the deciding factor in the Democratic primary, Bill Bishop and Tim Marema report for the Daily Yonder. (Yonder map)

Democrat Hillary Clinton collected 11,000 more votes than Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in urban areas in Michigan, beating him 49.6 percent to 48.6 percent in cities, but it was rural areas and micropolitan areas that carried Sanders to the upset, Bishop and Marema write. Sanders beat Clinton in rural areas by 8,000 votes—earning 55.3 percent of the votes to 42 percent for Clinton and also got 22,000 more votes in micropolitan areas—59.9 percent to 37.9 percent—to finish with 19,000 more votes than Clinton.

In the Republican race in Michigan, businessman Donald Trump won 42.9 percent of rural votes, compared to 25.6 percent for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and 18.2 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Bishop and Marema write. Trump, who also won in cities and micropolitan areas, finishing with 36.5 percent of overall votes, to 24.9 percent for Cruz and 24.3 percent for Kasich. Trump also took rural areas in Mississippi, beating Cruz 50.7 percent to 36.6 percent. Overall, Trump won the state with 47.3 percent of votes to 36.3 percent for Cruz.

Cruz had a better experience in Idaho, where he edged Trump among rural voters, 39.5 percent to 36.1 percent, Bishop and Marema write. Cruz, who also won in cities and micropolitans, finished with 45.4 percent of the vote, to 28.1 percent for Trump. A Republican caucus will be held today in the Virgin Islands. Northern Mariana Islands holds a Democratic caucus on Saturday, while Guam and Washington D.C. hold Republican conventions on Saturday. (Read more)

Reprinted with permission from The Rural Blog.  Article written by Tim Mandell. Al Cross,  former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog.

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