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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

PA Rural Voters and the Postal Service

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign. The 2019 update includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. The 2020 race, the subject of our next book, is well underway.  

Rachel Bitecofer at the Niskanen Center:

Poll shows rural voters oppose USPS cuts
In selected rural, Republican districts in Battlefield PA, voters say they are less likely to back a candidate who supports defunding or privatizing the U.S Postal Service. Mail-in voting and in-person school show a sharp partisan split. 
Despite a party breakdown of 56% Republican, 34% Democrat in this survey, reflecting the rural Pennsylvania congressional districts sampled, 57% of these likely 2020 voters report they’d be less likely to support a candidate who reduced the budget for the U.S Postal Service, or privatized the agency, including 43% of Republicans. 
  • 52% of these likely voters report they are “not likely at all” to vote by mail this fall, driven almost entirely by Republican voters’ strong rejection of the option. 68% of Republicans report they are “not at all likely” to vote by mail while 53% of Democrats say they are “very likely.”
  •  53% of rural voters say they are “very” or “somewhat” reliant on USPS service. Rural Republicans profess much less reliance on USPS than rural Democrats -- just 17% of Republicans report being “very” reliant while 43% of “Democrats” say the same, indicating a party effect. 
  • 51% of rural voters report being “concerned” about changes at USPS. Partisanship exerts strong influence over rural voter attitudes. 63% of Republicans report they are “not at all concerned” by changes at USPS while 71% of Democrats are “very concerned.” 
  • 62% of rural voters approve of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic, driven by the disproportionate number of Republicans in these rural districts, and the high marks Republicans give him. With a similar partisan effect, rural voters rate the performance of their elected state officials, who are Democrats, much lower, as just 44% approve.  
  • 47% of these rural voters support in-person, 5-day-a-week school this fall, with a sharp partisan divide on the issue. Just 4% of Republicans support “online only,” while only 17% of Democrats endorse full-week, in-person classes.