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Urban vs. rural divide separates red from blue in Knox County—and the country

President Trump carried Knox County, but the city of Knoxville went decisively blue by 12,000 votes.

On the road to the White House, where you live gives away your vote.

In North Knox County, a Republican tidal wave. At one precinct between Halls and Powell, President Trump took three out of every four votes. 

But 8 miles toward downtown Knoxville, a different story. At a polling place in North Knoxville, voters flipped that script. Two-thirds cast their vote for former Vice President Joe Biden. 

It's the same story across Knox County: more rural areas voted Red, more populated areas went Blue. 

The President won the county overall, but the city went blue by a margin of 12,000 votes. 

That's a 12% spread, up from just 4% in 2016—a trend beginning to pull the county toward the Democrats. 

It's the same story across the country: more rural areas trended red, cities voted blue. 

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But it's areas like Inskip where it gets interesting. Voters in that neighborhood went nearly 50-50. It's right on the cusp between city and county, between urban and rural. 

Purple suburban neighborhoods are the election battleground in Knox County and across the country. 

Credit: Don Johnson

These days, the divide between red and blue may be deeper than ever. But sometimes the drive between the two is only 20 minutes. 

We calculated the vote margins between Knox County and the city itself using data from the 2020 and 2016 Knox County election results. The precincts we designated as "city precincts" are as follows: 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 71, 74, 10n, 10s, 10w, 19e, 19w, 24q, 50n, 50s.