The Rural-Urban Divide and Belief in 'America First': A Logistic Regression Analysis

Presented by:
Lauren Acker (Grinnell College)

During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump rallied tremendous support from rural voters and frequently spouted the phrase "America first." After the 2016 election, the Grinnell College National Poll surveyed 1,002 individuals collecting data on their behavior and opinions related to topical political issues, including their identity as a "believer in America first." We hypothesized that higher proportions of participants from rural areas would self-identify as believers in America first than those from urban areas. To test this effect, we conducted a logistic regression analysis controlling for other variables that have been shown to affect political ideology. The results indicate that the type of residence has a significant effect on an individual's nationalism. Participants in rural areas are the most likely to identify as a believer in America first, followed by participants in small towns. Residents located in cities are less likely to identify with the label than those in small towns. However, suburban participants are the least likely to self-describe as a believer in America first, an unexpected result. This suggests that where an individual lives predicts their perception of America and its relation to the world.