Counting on the Rural Vote
Some political strategists believe the nation's most sparsely-populated places could determine who wins the White House in November. About 55 million people live in rural towns and counties, which cover 80 percent of the landscape. It is a dispersed but potent political force.
The day after the New Hampshire primary, many of the Democratic hopefuls flew south and west to the big cities. But North Carolina Sen. John Edwards headed for Durant, Okla., population 14,000, for a rally attended by cattle ranchers, peanut farmers, factory workers and students. As NPR's Howard Berkes reports in this snapshot of the rural vote, Edwards is among the candidates who hope the road to the White House goes through America's small towns.
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