The ability to keep rural white Democrats in the party fold could be the key to victory for Barack Obama, Bev Perdue, and Kay Hagan this fall.
Right now they aren't doing such a good job of that. Barack Obama leads 48-38 with those voters, Bev Perdue leads 54-26, and Kay Hagan leads 59-34.
There are indications though that these voters can be won over. For instance Libertarian candidates Bob Barr and Michael Munger are earning 11 and 8% respectively from folks within that demographic. Third party candidates usually don't do as well at the ballot box as they do in polls, and high levels of support expressed for them could be a sort of placeholder while people decide if they're going to vote for McCain or Obama.
What's important to these voters? Their top issue is overwhelmingly the economy, even more so than it is for most in the state. 64% of them say that's their biggest thing. Whichever candidates can convince these folks that putting them in office will make a difference in their daily economic lives will probably win these votes. These folks may identify as Democrats, but their support is pretty much up for grabs, and their votes are still critical even as we move toward a more urbanized state.