That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces flies in the face of these trends.
Working from the province by province breakdowns of the 2009 and 2005
results, released by the Iranian Ministry of Interior, and from the 2006 census
as published by the official Statistical Centre of Iran, the following observations
about the official data and the debates surrounding it can be made.
• In two conservative provinces, Mazandaran and Yazd, a turnout of
more than 100% was recorded.
• At a provincial level, there is no correlation between the increased
turnout and the swing to Ahmadinejad. This challenges the notion that
Ahmadinejad’s victory was due to the massive participation of a
previously silent conservative majority.
• In a third of all provinces, the official results would require that
Ahmadinejad took not only all former conservative voters, all former
centrist voters, and all new voters, but also up to 44% of former
Reformist voters, despite a decade of conflict between these two
• In 2005, as in 2001 and 1997, conservative candidates, and
Ahmadinejad in particular, were markedly unpopular in rural areas.
That the countryside always votes conservative is a myth. The claim
that this year Ahmadinejad swept the board in more rural provinces
flies in the face of these trends.
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