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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

New poll outlines rural voter priorities, but party labels cloud results

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Thursday, May 9, 2024   

President Joe Biden was in Wisconsin on Wednesday, touting plans for a new Microsoft data center. The visit comes amid new polling data in battleground states about what is on the minds of rural voters, with organizers noting surprising results.

The poll, released by the Rural Democracy Initiative, includes feedback from Wisconsin voters. Among respondents, 57% said they favored a more economic populist vision, with policies centered around lowering costs and raising incomes for the working class.

Patrick Toomey, researcher and partner of Breakthrough Campaigns, said the approach appears more popular than one often touted by GOP politicians.

"Just cutting taxes and getting rid of regulations is not going to do the most to help me in this economy," Toomey explained.

While economic policies aligned with Democrats, such as minimum-wage hikes, are favorable in this poll, many rural voters indicated they think Republicans are doing more for working people. Analysts said it shows Democrats have work to do to rebuild trust in these areas. Meanwhile, three-quarters of respondents either support the right to abortion or do not want the government interfering with decisions on reproductive health care.

Toomey acknowledged it will take some time for Democrats to re-connect with voters and it will not completely turn around in this election cycle. But he suggested it is not completely hopeless for the party to make gains in rural America ahead of November's vote.

"One of the key learnings here is that there are enough voters in rural areas of battleground states who are up for grabs to determine the outcome for 2024," Toomey reported.

He suggested if Democrats are savvy with their outreach, they might be able to convince rural populations they are pursuing policies voters have outlined as a top priority.

More than 1,700 voters in 10 states were part of the poll. As for Biden's appearance, it was at the same location as the failed Foxconn project announced by former President Donald Trump several years ago.

Disclosure: The Rural Democracy Initiative contributes to our fund for reporting on Environment, Health Issues, Rural/Farming, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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