Dems improved in rural areas in midterms, says pollster

Democratic pollster Nancy Zdunkewicz said Friday that Democrats improved nationally among rural voters in the 2018 midterm contests. 

"There was actually some improvement in rural areas overall," Zdunkewicz told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." 

"Nationally, there was an improvement in the margins for Democrats in rural areas," she continued.  "The Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE base is not perfect. It's not perfectly solid. We've already started to chip away at it in this last election."

While midterm election results showed that Republicans remained dominant in most rural areas in the U.S., some races showed Democrats appeared to cut into rural areas in states like New York, Iowa, Maine and Pennsylvania. 

Democrats saw gains over 2016 in at least 54 districts where the share of households in rural areas was, at a minimum, 39 percent, according to a Reuters analysis. 

But many Democrats say there is plenty of work for the party to do in these areas. 

Outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Big Dem names show little interest in Senate Gillibrand, Grassley reintroduce campus sexual assault bill MORE (D-Mo.), who lost her reelection, told NPR in an interview on Thursday that the party had failed "to gain enough trust with rural Americans." 

"This demand for purity, this looking down your nose at people who want to compromise, is a recipe for disaster for the Democrats," McCaskill said. 

— Julia Manchester