Barack Obama recognized something in 2008 that few Democratic presidential hopefuls before him had: Rural voters matter. And the best way to cultivate their support is on the farm.

A continued courtship appears to be well underway for 2012. It was clear with President Barack Obama’s bus tour through the nation’s breadbasket and the new White House report touting its economic achievements in rural America.

But Obama won’t win the traditionally conservative rural vote. He doesn’t need to. He only needs to keep Republican support low enough that the traditionally left-leaning urban vote can put him over the top.