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Ed Andrieski / AP

A new WashPost/Kaiser Family Foundation poll revealed a telling truth about Americans: those living in rural areas are concerned about the economy, but they're more worried about the country's shifting culture and demographics.

Shot: "Rural residents are nearly three times as likely (42 percent) as people in cities (16 percent) to say that immigrants are a burden on the country," WashPost notes.

Chaser: "Rural voters who lament their community's job prospects report supporting Trump by 14 percentage points more than Clinton, but Trump's support was about twice that margin — 30 points — among voters who say their community's job opportunities are excellent or good."

Why it matters: Many have thought that economic concerns among rural Americans with fewer job opportunities drove them to elect Trump. This poll challenges that, highlighting their deeper concerns are about accepting diversity, particularly immigrants, and feeling like the federal government favors urban Americans.

What they're saying: "They're not paying taxes like Americans are. They're getting stuff handed to them," said Larry E. Redding, a retired canning factory employee, to WashPost. "Free rent, and they're driving better vehicles than I'm driving and everything else."

Bottom line: The unemployment rate in rural areas is only slightly worse than in urban areas (5.3% to 4.8%, respectively), yet a shrinking workforce and low wages keep many rural residents living in poverty. Those economic worries seem to be projected onto urban residents, particularly minorities and those with "a pretty liberal opinion," according to one poll respondent.

  • 56% of rural residents believe the government disproportionately helps urban residents
  • Rural whites are 14 percentage points less likely to say they think "blacks and Hispanics losing out because of preferences for whites" is a bigger issue than the reverse.
  • 78% of Republicans in rural areas said they believe Christian values are under attack

The Trump effect, in one fascinating stat from the poll: 50% of rural residents said they believe Trump respects them, while 48% said he doesn't — this challenges the commonly held idea that Trump gives his base voters a sense of being relatable, divorced from the typical political elite in Washington.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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