General Question

cockswain's avatar

Why do rural communities generally tend to be conservative, and larger cities tend to be liberal?

Asked by cockswain (15254points) November 3rd, 2010

I understand there isn’t a strictly linear relationship between population density and liberalism/conservatism, but in general it seems larger cities are more liberal than smaller towns and rural communities. Take Colorado for example: usually the Denver metro area is a little blue island in a sea of red. Boston, Chicago, New York, mainly liberal.

What causes this phenomenon? Best hypothesis I can put forth is that smaller communities don’t observe the effects of class differences like those in cities.

If you can demonstrate to me that I’m mistaken in my assertion that larger cities in the US tend to be more liberal, than show me my error and I’ll readjust my thinking.

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87 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

No, you’re right. Part of the reason is because those in larger cities tend to have more education than those in rural communities. Now, before anyone jumps down my throat, I am not saying that people in rural communities are stupid – or even that they aren’t as smart. However, continued education has been linked to liberalism, over and over. Partially because, most likely, they are exposed to varying viewpoints throughout their education. Philosophy, cultural courses, women’s studies, etc. In college, you tend to be exposed to life from a perspective other than your own.

JLeslie's avatar

Religion and/or lack of diversity from what I can tell.

josie's avatar

I think I have finally heard everything.
Farmers are conservative because there is little to change in the rural culture. Chemistry, land mangagement and consolodation may increase yield. But farmers since the beginning of civilization have lived under one unchanging principle, and that is the variable and unpredictable amount of sun, rain and frost in any given growing season. Since these things are not in their control, there is no real reason to expect anyone or anything to change it. Thus the sense that big change is not necessary.

Or wait. Maybe it really is religion and/or lack of diversity and education. Those poor dumb and unenlightened farmers just do not know how to live life. Let’s get out there and show them the way!

cockswain's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I’m always careful to mention the link between education and developing a liberal philosophy, and chose not to add that. But one can’t deny the link.

cockswain's avatar

@josie That’s not quite to the point. Rural communities wouldn’t accept, say, gay marriage like New Yorkers would.

Don’t try to read too much into my question, I’m just wondering why this trend exists.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@josie Who said anything about farmers being dumb, poor or unenlightened? No one, aside from you now, as far as I can tell.

mrrich724's avatar

If I were going to jump down your throat @DrasticDreamer, it wouldn’t b/c of an implication that rural folk aren’t educated, rather the implication that you aren’t educated if you are conservative.

I’m a college man, and I have a tendency to have a mixture of feelings (I’m pro-life, but I’m also for gays having more rights. I don’t believe in Obama’s actions, but I also think weed should be legalised, not that they have anything to do with one another)

I’ve lived in rural areas (Leon county, FL) and I’ve also lived in cities Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles.

Also, I don’t understand how people are going to link education to liberalism considering the fact that there is a also a huge presence of the conservative party in America, who are very educated. Just saying . . .

In college there are many liberals, but if you went to college and were social with a variety of different people, I’d be surprised to hear that you didn’t meet as many people with conservative principals.

Blackberry's avatar

I have seen it as well, but do not really know why except for the reasons you and DrasticDreamer stated. Where I’m from, the people that lived in the woods and rural areas were the conservative gun-fanatics, and the people from the city were college oriented suburbanites.

rooeytoo's avatar

Could be because the people in rural communities are actually working and paying the taxes so that the liberals in the cities can continue their education while on student loans which if not paid back are funded by taxpayers toil.

I think the link between education and liberalism is pretty far fetched, are there actual studies to prove that?

Most of the greedy wealthy folks are reputed to be conservative republicans, how does that fit into the equation.

mrrich724's avatar

Also, isn’t there a stereotype that conservative tendencies favor the rich? Would it not be safe to assume the rich are rich because they are educated (in general, since we’re generalizing anyway.

The belief that conservative politics favor the wealthy is quite a prolific one too, and I don’t think it goes in line with “rural folk who are uneducated tend to be conservative, and educated city goers are liberal”

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@mrrich724 Nowhere did I say that conservatives aren’t educated. I knew in answering that people would assume many things based on what I said, and that they would say I said or implied things that I actually didn’t.

Of course you meet conservative educated people in college, as well as liberals. But chances are, more of them are going to be liberal. In college, you are faced with more diversity, period. Not just people, but situations in general. Your horizons are broadened, you witness more. More college educated people tend to be atheist or agnostic, too, rather than religious.

There are cultural and societal reasons for all of these things.

mrrich724's avatar

I just see a big problem with these statements b/c there is just as much evidence in society to make the opposite statement. It’s all generalization based on opinion, unless there are stats somewhere, but please see my second statement above.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@mrrich724 “b/c there is just as much evidence in society to make the opposite statement.” What opposite statement would that be?

JLeslie's avatar

@josie I did not call anyone dumb, and I don’t think it. I do think their experience is different than those in the big city, but so do you. I think you made some valid points, they live more of the land, more independent in that way. Sometimes when they are against something that a liberal thinks is important, it is because of the difference in experience. I mean why can’t the law of the land be that we have prayer in school, all of the kids in my sons school are good Christians, and we believe God is important. Because in parts of the country half the school is Jewish, and another 10% other. And, still not even a good idea on the local level, because 10 years from now you might have a family of Muslims, and another family of Buddhists to move to your town, and bring all of their relatives. That is what I mean by lack of diversity. There are people in rural areas that get this sort of thing, but many don’t think about the possibilities on issues like this, and honestly some have never really experienced the diversity of the big city. That doesn’t make them stupid or bad. Plus, the religion definitely plays a part, I don’t see how you can quarrel with that? The bible belt as a generalization, votes differently than other parts of the country, you don’t think that is influenced by religion? Bush secured his win by playing to the religious right.

One of my closest friends grew up on a farm, 100 acres, outside of small city. They are liberal democrats. However, they are Catholic, not Evangelical.

mrrich724's avatar

“Continued education has been linked to liberalism over and over”

WestRiverrat's avatar

I have met more liberals while volunteering in soup kitchens than I have conservatives. To imply liberals are more educated than conservatives is inaccurate.

BarnacleBill's avatar

When I worked at an art museum, we had a group of kids who rode a school bus three hours one way from a rural county to come to the museum to see an exhibit of impressionist paintings. I explained to the group that the paintings were collected by a man in Scotland in the late 1800’s who was a shipping clerk. One boy, took me aside, and said that when his dad died he would get the land, and asked if he sold the land would it be possible to own artwork like what he saw. He had never seen real artwork up close, and was mesmerized by it.

I bring this up because it’s all about exposure. Even though we have satellite television, it doesn’t bring the reality of experience home. When my daughter attended a statewide academic enrichment program in high school, there were kids that had never seen a city bus, much less ridden on one, and had never seen a building more than five stories tall, never heard a language other than English spoken in public, never had a pizza delivered.

This doesn’t make them uneducated; it makes them underexposed. Likewise, people in cities don’t often understand space, and a slower pace of being. City life can be caught up in superficialities that really don’t matter. The realities are different.

syz's avatar

A higher concentration of individuals who have received higher education (collage and graduate level).

mrrich724's avatar

@BarnacleBill what a fitting recount for this topic. Thanks! G.A.

Blackberry's avatar

BarnacleBill is always so bi-partisan. Good job @BarnacleBill :)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@WestRiverrat And? There are a lot of problems with you assuming that just because someone is homeless they have never been educated.

The fact that people assumed I said conservatives aren’t educated, are stupid, and whatever else is highly irritating.There are multiple factors, as there usually are, for things in life. I can’t exactly be biased as an anthropology major, as it would kind of go against everything anthropology stands for. But since I’m being accused of calling conservatives and rural people stupid, I will be glad to provide links. After I study for ASL. People need to fucking read better, or try to understand better, before they stone someone. Jesus.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I just get tired of the media’s always assuming that all urban liberals are educated and cultured. And all rural conservatives are rednecked hicks that couldn’t read a book if it would save their lives.

There are just as many uneducated liberals out there as there are uneducated conservatives. There are also just as many uneducated urban residents as there are rural uneducated residents.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@DrasticDreamer the thing is that I come from a rural town and they are for the most part conservative. Most people who graduated in my high school who are conservative went to college. Education has nothing to do with political views. I have seen highly educated conservatives and liberals who dropped out of high school and vice versa.

Aethelwine's avatar

I don’t have an answer. I would assume it has more to do with age than education, but I don’t have numbers to back this up. What I am amazed about is the lack of education I am seeing on this question concerning rural life. Rural children are exposed to quite a bit, maybe more so than city children.

mrentropy's avatar

Small rural communities are mostly static. People are born there, grow up there, and die there. The community has a standard that is tended to be passed from person to person because that is what they know and that is what they grow in to. If an outside influence does move in and try and spread new ideas, they are generally met with debating tools such as pitchforks and torches. Also, small rural communities rarely attract large numbers of people which is why they are small rural communities. Since the population is limited most people know everyone else, and what they’re doing, so there is no need to impress them by listening to them.

Cities, on the other hand, are hubs of busybodies. Cities are a place where anyone with wild hair, a dirty trenchcoat, and six months of not bathing can stand on a street corner and spread the word of their ideas, thoughts, and religions. Cities draw a large amount of people for various reasons, such as ports, trade centers, jobs, and protitutes. These people come from many different places bringing many different ideas. Being of large populations it’s hard for any one person to know everyone else, so if they want to get anywhere they have to pretend to be interested in what other people say to them. Sometimes it sticks.

cockswain's avatar

(sigh) This is why I didn’t mention the liberal/education link. It has derailed the conversation. How about not debating that any longer? Start a different thread if you want to argue that one.

BarnacleBill's avatar

It would seem that Wendell Berry would defy rural stereotypes. Although in many places, the location of Henry County KY would hardly qualify as rural, being 41 miles from Louisville, and 75 miles from Cincinnati.

Aethelwine's avatar

@cockswain but if many people think education is the reason why, why not debate it?

JustJessica's avatar

I wish I knew, but I’m a big city girl stuck in a small minded (is that a word?) town. But I do think it has a lot to do with being exposed to more cultures living in a big city and you adapt to that I guess. In small towns they aren’t exposed to much.

wilma's avatar

In the rural communities that I am familiar with, the conservatives more often have higher education, and are more apt to be farmers (with college degrees in agriculture) small business owners or their employees, and professionals. The liberals are more often union members in factories or people on public assistance.

cockswain's avatar

@jonsblond Because it is generally a really inflammatory statement as conservatives loathe the assertion they are dumb, and also fuels the “liberal elitist” stereotype. Besides, for the purposes of this question, one would have to further prove cities are comprised of a greater percentage of educated people than smaller towns. That may or may not be true, I don’t actually know.

As an aside, college towns generally tend to be liberal. For example, Madison, WI; Boulder, CO; Champaign, IL; Berkeley, CA;, Cambridge, MA.

@wilma Do you think that trend holds true for the nation in general?

Aethelwine's avatar

@cockswain I would think the college population might have something to do with it? College students tend to be more liberal. You usually have an older population that makes up the voting community in smaller towns, and they tend to be more conservative? I’m guessing, but that is why I said I think it has more to do with age than education.

cockswain's avatar

Sounds reasonable, but that’s why I’m asking. I really don’t know. I suspect maybe if you live in a small town and work hard, you think the homeless people in big cities are just lazy and want something for nothing. You haven’t seen hundreds of them and don’t realize a lot of them are just nuts, incapable of taking care of themselves. As a result, maybe the small town person develops the attitude that the stupid democrats just want to tax them to give their money to lazy people.

Also, maybe in a small town there aren’t too many really wealthy people. You don’t drive around town and see a huge disparity between the haves and have nots. As a result, you may not think taxing the rich, who are just hard working folks too, is fair.

In a larger city, you are subjected to people form many cultures, of many beliefs. After interacting with enough of them, you may have formed broader opinions of religion, philosophy, and culture. In smaller communities, there may be (as @mrentropy alluded) a more static tradition, one less permeated by “liberal” concepts like gay marriage.

Not trying to piss anyone off with my ideas, just putting them out there.

crisw's avatar

@WestRiverrat

“There are just as many uneducated liberals out there as there are uneducated conservatives. ”

This just isn’t so, as many studies have shown (here is one). Consistently, liberals have more education than conservatives do.

BarnacleBill's avatar

College students aren’t universally liberal. At many schools the students who are in the Greek system – fraternities and sororities – can be quite conservative leaning. I think it’s far more complex than a single factor. PJ O’Rourke, in a THINK interview, said that he was a Maoist until he had children. Now he’s a conservative.

WestRiverrat's avatar

@crisw what is the margin of error for that sampling?

wilma's avatar

@cockswain I think “in general”, and I really don’t like to generalize, that people on public assistance will “vote” for a more liberal candidate and claim to be a democrat.
I think small business owners are more apt to be conservative, at least fiscally conservative because they are working with their own hard earned money, not money and products belonging to someone else. Farmers are often conservative for the reasons that @rooeytoo and @josie stated.
Most unions support the democrat party.
I also think that what you said 4 posts up has a lot of merit.

cockswain's avatar

Here, check this out. It’s a map of the current election results to the House of Representatives. I was just looking closely at many states, and there is little question districts with a metropolitan area are generally voting democratic. For example, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, and so on. There are cities that went Republican this time (like Milwaukee I think), but the trend is pretty apparent.

rooeytoo's avatar

I just googled and found a study that proves that liberals have bigger shoe sizes than conservatives. Where oh where would we be without all these (probably government funded) studies to tell us who and what we are. I am educated and have lived in NYC, DC and a couple of others, and I am a liberal conservative. Bet that would screw up some studies.

The interesting point is, somehow or other it seems that to be liberal is more noble than to be conservative. How did that happen? Hang on and I’ll find a study that proves conservatives are more charitable than liberals. That must count for some nobility points.

cockswain's avatar

@rooeytoo You’re on two of my questions now, being argumentative and not adding anything I personally consider to be intelligent or thought provoking to either thread. I know there isn’t much I can do to stop you from posting on this site, but I’d love it if you didn’t answer any of my questions in this way.

wundayatta's avatar

My thinking is similar to @BarnacleBill.‘s Exposure to different things is more likely to lead to tolerance of those things than no exposure at all. In urban areas, there are more likely to be people of all kinds. Rural areas tend to be more homogenous in just about every way possible: race, religion, type of work, schooling, etc. Without exposure to different people, they only know the rumors and movie depictions, not what the real world is like.

Difference is scary. We instinctively shy away from it. It is only when we learn that people are the same, no matter how they look, talk, or think that we can start to become tolerant of them. I’ll bet you just about everybody on fluther has a story about some kind of person they weren’t sure they could get along with and when they met one, found it wasn’t true at all.

If exposure leads to tolerance, then we have to draw a link between tolerance and liberalism. Well, it’s right there, isn’t it? Aren’t tolerance and liberalism pretty close to each other in meaning, if not synonyms? And isn’t conservatism about keeping things the way they are? Not allowing changes, or resisting change as hard as possible?

Anyway, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

Aethelwine's avatar

I’m sorry, but this whole “exposure” thing has nothing to do with it. How many people from the city venture out to the country? I’m assuming not that many. I would bet more people from the country visit the city. Country folk are not as backwoods as you may think. Also, people that live in the country are becoming more and more diverse.

ipso's avatar

Major blue cities/areas have a majority of “minorities”. Minorities want change and/or entitlements, and vote Liberal.

Why is this thread all over the place?

cockswain's avatar

@jonsblond I don’t think you should just rule out “the exposure thing” completely. Maybe it represent 25% of the reason, maybe 5%. Regardless, it may well have something to do with it.

I agree rural areas may become more diverse due to the internet. Just the fact you are on this site talking with folks around the world of diverse backgrounds broadens your perspective. That couldn’t have happened as easily 20 years ago.

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DrasticDreamer's avatar

@ipso Not true. In my city, minorities are still minorities.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
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augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Knock off the personal attacks, please. Let’s stick to the topic at hand.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A8427-2005Mar28.html

By 2005, less than 4 percent of American Anthropological Association members surveyed by the association were working for the government. The discipline also had become politically homogenous: A George Mason University survey found Democrats outnumbering Republicans in anthropology and sociology by 20 to 1 in 2004. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/04/29/CMGHQP19VD1.DTL&ao=5

http://people-press.org/report/242/beyond-red-vs-blue

http://www.collegenews.org/x2782.xml

And once again: I am NOT saying that conservatives are stupid! I am merely pointing out that people who attend college tend to be liberals – NOT that there are NO conservatives in college. And before people go on about who funded the studies – in one of them, it was a CONSERVATIVE.

mrrich724's avatar

Let’s just feed the fire. . . maybe age does play into it . . . b/c I can see that older people would live in calmer, rural areas, and younger people live in cities.

So when you are young and learning, you are liberal living in the city, and when you wised through age, you move to the country and become a conservative :)

cockswain's avatar

@mrrich724 If we can find some sort of data suggesting older people tend to live in less populated areas, you could have a valid point. Older people do tend to be conservative, but the old guy that said “Keep your damn gov’t hands off my Medicare” may not have been wise.

@DrasticDreamer Thanks for the links. I’m not asserting conservatives are less capable of thought than liberals either. Tribes in Papua New Guinea are just as capable of reasoning as any other human.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@cockswain Precisely, thank you. I do not hold the opinion that “educated” necessarily means “smarter”. Never once did I imply that, and I never would. So in case it’s not clear to other people yet: “liberal” does not necessarily equate to “smart”, either. There are many, many factors. I was merely pointing out that those who attend college identify as “liberal” more so than “conservative”.

Sheesh.

cockswain's avatar

@DrasticDreamer To explore that a bit, I think most anyone who takes a physical anthropology class is going to believe the theory of evolution and be frustrated with creationists who argue against it. As a result, the person who took that class may reject the conservative religious philosophy and default to being a liberal.

Aethelwine's avatar

@mrrich724 I do agree with you there. ;)

I would love to add something that I found very interesting recently. I grew up in Las Vegas, then moved to Illinois during my junior year. I recently came in contact with many friends from my school years in Las Vegas (thanks to facebook). I haven’t talked with many of them for 20 years. They are all college educated, businessmen/women living in large cities now on the west coast. They are all republican! I couldn’t believe it. We didn’t discuss politics when we were in school. this discuss just brought back that memory, thought I would share. sorry if it has nothing to do with this discussion Maybe it does, they are all “older” now. :P

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@cockswain Depending on how serious they are about the class, yeah, you could very well be right. I think those who choose to major in anthropology (like myself) are already more left-leaning. Those who take it as a requirement, on the other hand, or for those who simply have a mild curiosity about it… There are quite a few creationists – which I will admit I was genuinely surprised about – due to the topics of discussion and the understanding one has to have about science and evolution in general. It baffles me – but I guess a lot does.

@jonsblond I’m glad, actually, that you told that story. From a purely anthropological standpoint, it’s extremely interesting. While in college, having liberal views makes sense (WHY people have them is another question altogether), because most people in college, as I said before, identify as “liberal”. However, it’s pretty well-known that many Republicans (and thus, for the sake of this conversation, “conservatives”) are well-off. It’s possible and more than likely that the college education your friends received helped to secure well-paying jobs. Because many more well-off people seem to be Republican, the switch, in their cases, makes sense.

And this further illustrates my point that I was never saying conservatives were stupid and that liberals were smarter.

Edit: sigh. I hate words. I am also NOT saying that no liberals are rich, or that if people “wise-up” they become Republican – because that is not how I feel. Merely pointing out that many rich people tend to feel more “protected” by the Republican party. Why and whether or not it’s true, I am not going to touch upon. I could, but I won’t.

Joybird's avatar

You know this is true around the world. Urban areas are centers of education and exposure to multi cultures, religions, classes etc. Exposure and education breeds higher thinking and not just higher thinking but what is considered more liberal and sometimes radical thinking. This is as true in Iraq as in the US.

Judi's avatar

In my humble, mass generalization sort of opinion, people who live in crowded places understand how community needs to support each other and work together. They learn at an early age that when people work together, for the common good they can create something better than the sum of their parts.
Rural communities tend to attract people who want to be independent, raise themselves up by their boot straps sort of people who want to do things their own way. Extreme versions of either can be real idiots.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Judi I’ve actually witnessed the opposite. I felt more alone living in a large city than I do now living in a town of 500 people. The community really pulls together and helps one another, in the city everyone was closed off and fended for themselves. We all have our own experiences though. Very good to see you participating here again. You’ve been missed!

DominicX's avatar

Because most rural communities are homogeneous, the same type of people, same class, same jobs, same activities, etc. More urban areas have everything from rich magnates to poor people living in slums. They have all kinds of races and ethnicities why does Firefox say “ethnicities” is not a word? in them, all kinds of cultures, all kinds of rapid changes going on. People who live in rural areas don’t experience much of this. They have a simpler life that they are content with and want to “conserve”. They don’t (in very general terms) have to deal with “different” people and ideas. People who’s life and community are relatively static and homogeneous are not going to have much desire to change it.

That’s my theory.

crisw's avatar

@WestRiverrat

“what is the margin of error for that sampling?”

From the complete survey :
“Results for the main Political Typology Survey are based on telephone interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a nationwide sample of 2,000 adults, 18 years of age or older, during the period Dec. 1–16, 2004. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For results based on Form 1 (N=993) or Form 2 (N=1007) only, the error attributable to sampling is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. For results based on abbreviated field periods, with sample sizes ranging from 419 to 523, the margin of error is plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.”

mattbrowne's avatar

Degree of exposure to diversity.

Judi's avatar

I changed my mind. I like @DominicX answer. It makes way more since than mine. :-)
I like it when fluther changes my mind. It means I learned something.

JLeslie's avatar

Whew. Just came back to this thread, the discussion is interesting. What comes to my mind is the two political groups have some weird extremes. Republicans have wealthy business owners, and far right religious people. I used to think this was a really odd mix, back when Christians used to talk more about working as a community and not historically trying to capitalize on their neighbor, but since the Christians seem to be touting greed and profit lately, that irony has dissappeared. Still, I would argue the Conservative fiscal part of the party who sides with business, many times is not focused on the social issues, and even sometimes is liberal on social issues. The other part of the party, who are obsessed with the social issues, their brand of morality, etc, that is what really drives their vote I think. Lately the church has packaged it all together, convincing people to even vote against their own interests sometimes.

Education levels are probably all over the map, although it does seem liberals are more educated, at higher levels in general according to the link someone provided, but averages can be very deceiving also. That stat certainly does not mean conservatoves or more stupid, and the graph also shows that of course many conservatives have advanced degrees.

Now, back to the weird bedfellows. The Democrats have liberal hippies, and educated businessmen, and many of the minorities, many very poor people also. The tricky thing is many of the minorities are socially conservative of all things.

I also think there is a difference between country poor and city poor, so then it os back to big city vs. Rural town, rather than their economic condition. Regarding education also, I think big city vs. small town is a larger influence, which is why I said religion and diversity and did not dwell on education or income. But to contradict myself, much of the African Americans in the party have the religion thing, that is why they are socially conservative. If the history of the Republican party was not that a whole bunch of racist whites fled the Democratic party at one point to join up with the Republicans it might be different. I would also argue that possibly minorities are more likely to be city poor than country poor, but I might be incorrect?

I think one reason people who have higher education are more liberal is because at univerisites you usually meet a variety of people. Universities are like mini cities many times. But, I certainly knew some conservatives at my university. Funny enough one I can think of active in politics was a farmer. I’m thinking we should stop giving them subsidies if they want the free market and no government help or intervention.

SundayKittens's avatar

Exposure, mannnnn. That’s what it’s all about.

Aethelwine's avatar

I still don’t understand how exposure comes into play here. People from rural communities do have cars you know. They travel into the city, smaller towns have more and more diverse people moving into their communities these days, there is also media outlets and the internet. These people are not as closed off as many of you believe they are.

SundayKittens's avatar

I grew up in, and live in, a rural community where everyone and everything is homogeneous. You become a product of your environment unless you have some factor (in my case, my parents) that encourage you to see and experience things that you’re not surrounded by.

Maybe it’s not so much exposure as constant exposure.

DominicX's avatar

@jonsblond

But they still don’t get the same amount of exposure as people in the city do; they don’t live it day to day like urbanites do. It’s true that it’s getting more diverse than it’s been in the past for many rural communities, but rural communities are still, in general, not as diverse or as much of a “melting pot” as cities are. You don’t hear much about a “slower” lifestyle in the city characterized by homogeneity, but that kind of thing is much more common in rural areas.

SundayKittens's avatar

@DominicX said what I struggled with saying. And don’t get me wrong….I’m not bashing rural areas. I am who I am because of where I grew up. Thank God for the salt of the Earth types…to each their own, but thanks even more to my parents who had the wits to make sure I knew my home state wasn’t the center of the universe.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond My feeling is there are two types of mindsets. Some people go to visit a new place, see things they like, interesting people, and come home thinking, “wow, I want to take a piece of that home with me,” and some people think more us and them. They don’t identify with the city people, even if they enjoy going to the city. It is a different world, not part of their world. What do you think?

JLeslie's avatar

I wanted to clarify, I think some city people do the same thing, us and them, but since they live in a more diverse setting are more in touch with the idea that there is a variety of people and ways of life around the country. But, I think many city people have no real concept of what it is really like to live in a rural setting.

Aethelwine's avatar

@JLeslie I guess what I’m trying to get at is, when someone says it has to do with exposure, I feel that is saying they are close minded. So you are basically saying republicans/rural folk are close minded. At least this is what I take from it. Saying democrats are better than republicans because they are exposed to more things. I’m not republican, but I quit identifying with being a democrat two years ago because I felt that many democrats felt they were superior to republicans, and I just don’t like that mindset. I agree with a little bit from both sides, and don’t like to label myself now.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond just want to make sure you see my clarification immediately above your last post.

Yes, I can understand why you feel that way. I don’t think it is a matter of being better. I would say it might be a matter of being more wordly, but that might sound offensive too, I think exposure is better. When I say exposure, it is not a criticism of who they are, because all of us have things we are not exposed to, are ignorant to, haven’t learned yet, etc. I think the frustration among the liberals is when Republicans support someone like Sarah Palin for president, when it seems to me she did not give a damn about international geo-politics up until the time she was asked by McCain to be VP. I don’t hate the woman, she may know a lot about certain topics, but I would be freaked to think about her carrying on a real conversation with the King of Jordan, or a Hamas leader. Just saying. So, we feel even if someone does not understand what is going on in the middle east, it is important to put someone into power who does have an understanding and interest. I don’t see how they think she could handle it? To this day, I never hear Palin talking about international relations really. It is all an emphasis on domestic policy.

When we see this type of thing, and the right saying the educated elite think they are better than everyone else, I also get worried the right does not value education and real understanding of a topic that is important to our country at the present time. They seem narrow in their concerns. We all have issues that are most important to us, so I understand that, I am not saying my worries are more important than someone else’s. But, since we are in wars in the middle east and the far right seems to be fervent in their support for being there and for helping Israel, it makes no sense to me that they might supprt her. And, I do not assume people with more education than me think they are better than me, I do think they know more about the subject they studied most likely. That to me feels like they are insecure about their education level and are putting others down to feel better about themselves.

What I do think is legitimate is for someone in rural areas to feel like a city person or politician is out of touch with the immediate concerns of their community.

I do want to mention that I am critical of the left, the NYC centered media, in regards to education, I think they talk about college so much as being necessary to do anything in America, that it creates a feeling that if someone does not have a college education they are less than, less worthy, I think that is horrible. I think we should be talking about vocational skills as highly as we do college educations, and respecting all people who work hard every day.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
crisw's avatar

@Mikewlf337

Ad hominem attacks will get you nowhere. They are usually the resort of those who have no evidence beyond the purely anecdotal when they are confronted with a reality they cannot accept. So show your own research- not anecdotes- to refute what I posted, or accept the facts. Otherwise, what I posted stands, no matter how much you protest and call names.

Mikewlf337's avatar

@crisw I don’t have to prove anything to you and your posts on this site are no more relevant than anyone else. I doubt you even hang around many conservatives because you are such a bleeding heart liberal that it makes even an average liberal sick. Liberals are no more or less educated than anyone else. How do I know? I know because I know educated conservatives. Unlike you I don’t post a link on everthing I post. I don’t have to proove a thing to a person like you. I am not a liar and shouldn’t have to back up everything I say on a silly website because a flaky bleeding heart liberal thinks I make shit up.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Flame off. There’s no need to make this personal.

cockswain's avatar

@Mikewlf337 Posts like that aren’t helping dispel any myths.

DominicX's avatar

I think that for the sake of political correctness and our desire for everyone to be as equal as possible even if they’re not, we’re afraid to say one group might be more educated than the other. But it’s very possible that people of a certain political leaning tend to be more educated than people of another political leaning.

I’m not saying I personally think it’s true, but I’m willing to consider it.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
Response moderated (Off-Topic)
crisw's avatar

I just found an interesting study from the Bay Area Center for Voting Research on the most conservative and liberal cities in the US.

Here are some highlights:

•The five most liberal cities (based on voting for liberal candidates) are Detroit, MI, Gary, IN, Berkeley, CA, District of Columbia;and Oakland, CA.

•The five most conservative cities (based on voting for conservative candidates) are Provo, UT, Lubbock, TX , Abilene, TX, Hialeah, FL and Plano, TX.

• “A number of important demographic factors determine whether cities vote for liberals or conservatives, with race being the most important factor. Cities with predominantly large African American populations ended up as the most liberal cities in America, while the cities with the largest Caucasian populations wound up as the most conservative.”

• “Population size also seems to have a significant effect, with larger urban environments tending to favor liberal candidates by a wider margin than those with smaller population sizes, demonstrating the success of liberal candidates in large metropolitan areas where concerns about social programs and poverty spoken of against the incumbent Bush administration were most salient.”

• “The tendency to vote for liberal candidates appears frequent in the most urban and populated environments, where concerns about social services for the poor, health care, and other issues traditionally touted by Democrats and liberal candidates are more salient than in a suburban environment.”

cockswain's avatar

@crisw Perfect! Thanks for the info.

Paradox's avatar

Living in a very conservative rural area I’ve always wondered this myself. I can’t say racism because the majority of them supported Lynn Swann when he ran against Ed Rendell in the PA governors race last election. I believe some of the responses above may be right. They are usually not used to being around other types of people. Most have guns and hunt so I think that’s a big one as well.

I can’t understand why so many people are so robotic with their issues. What does gun rights and abortion have to do with each other? Dam I mix my issues up. I’m very non-partisan for the most part and I was probally the only person in my area that drove around with a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on my truck because I disliked Bush so bad. With the Republicans sweeping my state I’m already reading comments from my local newspaper where many are claiming it was “God’s will” for the Republicans to win. I didn’t know God was a Republican.

Good question and one I was getting ready to ask myself. I always try to vote for the best candidate, not what party they are in. Why can’t more people do the same?

Joybird's avatar

When I worked in a clinic I treated a number of refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan. I treated the Prime ministers of Afghanistans sister, a political magazine editor and of course there were my translators; both highly educated people. Most of the other refugees I had were from rural areas. I asked once about the disparity in their beliefs and thinking as it noticibly played out in their treatments and was told patently that education is readily available in urban areas, more diverse work is available, incomes are higher, and all this alters thinking towards more liberal views. Those in the rural areas were still operating under tribal mentality for the most part. I don’t think the US is any different in this dynamic. Ignorance is in part a lack of exposure to other people different then yourselves….persons of other tribes in close quarters who are all benefitting from the lifestyle afforded by urbanization tend to accomodate each others way of being in the world.

Coloma's avatar

I don’t think we can really generalize the liberal/conservative split based on all the varients.

I live in a rural mountain/foothill community and it is a very diverse area.

A melting pot of old hippie liberals, artsy, creative liberals, apoliticals of both those variants, old school redneck cowboy types, ( as best a description I can give, NOT a negative comment ) tons of city slicker transplants.

This county is full spectrum, everything from cattle ranchers to marijauna farmers, vineyard growers/wineries and all types in between.

I fall into the apolitical, bohemian, live & let live realm. lol

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