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Why Suburban Swing Voters May Be Less Common Than You Think

A new poll finds that far from being more moderate than urban or rural voters, suburbanites are actually more partisan.
Neighboring residences with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaign signs in their front yards in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 2016.
Neighboring residences with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaign signs in their front yards in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 2016.Mark Makela/Reuters

The popular image of America’s suburbs as a realm of swing voters, moderates, and independents is wrong, a new poll suggests. In fact, suburban voters are much less likely to be political independents than either urban or rural voters. Only 15 percent of the poll’s suburban respondents were independents, lower than the rate among rural or urban residents.

What makes the suburbs politically distinct in America may not be moderation, but rather a more even split between Democrats and Republicans than exists in left-leaning cities or right-leaning rural areas.