Joseph Biden won the 2020 presidential election because Democratic support increased across the entire rural–urban continuum. The incremental gains at each point along the continuum were modest, but in a tightly contested election small changes in the vote matter.

In this brief, Carsey School senior demographer Ken Johnson and Carsey fellow Dante Scala conclude that voting trends in rural and urban America reflect a continuum rather than a dichotomy. At one pole of the continuum are large, densely settled urban cores, where Democrats have consistently been the most successful. At the other end are remote rural counties far from a metropolitan area, without large towns, where Republican candidates command their greatest support.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Fall 11-10-2020


National Issue Brief No. 153


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



Copyright 2020. Carsey School of Public Policy. These materials may be used for the purposes of research, teaching, and private study. For all other uses, contact the copyright holder.





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