Rural Voters

The urban-rural divide is arguably one of the most important political cleavages structuring political life in advanced and new democracies alike. In Europe, the roots of the urban-rural political cleavage predate the introduction of universal suffrage. In the predemocratic state, urban and rural interests were formally recognized in parliament through the separate estates, with the nobility and (sometimes) free peasantry representing land and with the burghers representing the urban elites. Moreover, as Seymour Martin Lipset suggested, the industrial revolution intensified urban-rural divisions with the transference of wealth and population to the cities. A substantial literature in political science has dealt specifically with the rural voter: her role in the transformation to democracy, her political attitudes, and, her political behavior.

The numerical influence of rural voters ...

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