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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.

Poll: Rural AZ voters not a 'cultural monolith'

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Friday, May 10, 2024   

Arizona's primary election will take place in July, and a new Rural Democracy Initiative poll shows that likely voters from rural areas of the state are up for grabs.

Researcher Patrick Toomey, a partner with Breakthrough Campaigns, said the poll data show rural voters are what he calls "economic populists," and don't want the government calling the shots on certain issues, such as abortion.

"Rural voters do feel like things are getting worse for them and in their communities economically, but again, the vast majority of rural voters -- they are economic populists and their policy preferences align with many progressive goals," he said. "It is very clear that rural voters are not a cultural monolith either."

Toomey added that while rural America tends to be more conservative than its urban and suburban counterparts, certain conventionally progressive policy items -- such as focusing on retirement security and making taxes more fair -- aren't being associated with President Joe Biden or Democrats. He contended that the Democratic Party will need to "rebuild their brand."

The poll found 15% of rural voters in swing states are unsure for whom they will vote, or if they'll vote at all in the upcoming election, something Toomey contended could directly impact the outcome.

Toomey said half of rural voters consider Republicans to be more dedicated to prioritizing the needs of working families, compared with just 32% who shared those sentiments for the Democratic Party. While the increasing costs of housing, health care and child care are all important issues to rural voters, the data show that reproductive freedoms are also a top priority.

Toomey claimed Democrats can use that to their favor.

"Rural voters are opposed to abortion bans," he said. "They have nuanced views around abortion itself, but three-quarters either support it or don't want the government interfering in something that should be left up to women and their doctors."

More than 1,700 voters in 10 states participated in the poll, which found nearly half of rural voters would choose a "culturally aligned" rural Democrat over a Republican businessperson from a big city on the East Coast.


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