The 2010 Republican primaries featured a number of state maps that showed Mitt Romney winning the major urban areas while Rick Santorum dominated the more rural counties. My guess is you'll see the same pattern play out in the the contest between Senator Richard Lugar and State Treasurer Richard Mourdock.
I would expect Mourdock to win almost all the rural counties, many decisively so. While Lugar might be able to win the counties of Allen (Fort Wayne), St. Joseph (South Bend) and Lake County, I think the real battleground will be the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area (IMA), in particular the heavily populated counties of Marion, Hamilton, Hendricks and Johnson County.
To win the state, Lugar will need a large victory margin in the IMA. For Mourdock to win the state, he needs to hold down his losing margin in the IMA.
One of the things I've noticed is what appears to be an incredibly large number of absentee ballot requests in Marion County. It would appear that about 80% of those are for a Republican ballot, which suggests to me that either the Lugar or Mourdock campaign (or both) is actively targeting absentee voters.
How many areas of Indiana truly could be said to be "rural" now? With the internet, economic developments, and the ways in which populations have become so transient, our culture, overall, has taken on a more "urban" identity. We lack accurate polling (because of costs) like we used to see. I think, also, there are more subtlties to the populace than one would think. I agree that the Indy/Metro will play an important part, but I think that the other counties---92 minus Marion and the "hub" counties---are a bit more complex. I also agree that this primary will be tight---although polling (if we had it; and the individual campaigns prbably do) might say I am wrong.
I don't think Indiana is any different than other states in that terms of urbanization. Our population has ben pretty stagnant.
Santorum was pretty consistent in winning outside the states' major population areas. So I'm not sure the argument we are all one big community really holds up.
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