A new nationwide poll commissioned by Agri-Pulse reveals that a majority of farmers and ranchers favor Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they support Republican Trump while 18 percent indicated they support Democrat Clinton. Only 2 percent plan to vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and just 1 percent for the Green Party’s Jill Stein. With only two weeks until the election, 15 percent of those surveyed said they were undecided and 8 percent did not answer the question.
When the results are broken down between male and female respondents, 59 percent men and 37 percent women indicated they would vote for Trump while 15 percent males and 33 percent females responded with support for Clinton. Eighteen percent women indicated they were undecided. The GOP nominee scored particularly well in two battleground states, with support from 68 percent of the farmers and ranchers in Ohio and 58 percent in Florida.
Compared to a similar Agri-Pulse poll conducted in late January, respondents indicated an even greater dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, the farm economy and the regulatory environment.
When asked if they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in America, 86 percent said they were “somewhat” or “very dissatisfied.” That indicates an uptick from another Agri-Pulse poll conducted in late January of this year. At that time, slightly over three-quarters of the voters surveyed were dissatisfied with the direction of the country. Those levels of dissatisfaction were at 90 percent or higher in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
“Economic growth” rose to the top when respondents were asked to identify the one most important issue facing this country heading into the 2016 presidential election, with about 19 percent nationally selecting this option, up from 9 percent in January. That was the choice of about 19 percent of the Republicans, 16 percent of the Democrats and 18 percent of the Independents.
That represents a substantial shift from the January poll, when 19 percent of Republicans and Democrats listed “national security/terrorism” as their top choice, followed by “moral values” at 14 percent, “immigration/ag labor” at almost 14 percent and “deficit reduction” at 13.5 percent. In the October poll, the second most important issue selected was “deficit reduction,” favored by about 16 percent, followed by “moral values” at 12 percent nationally. National security and terrorism dropped down to 7 percent.
There was a strong uptick in “climate change,” moving from slightly over 1 percent of farmers and ranchers concerned in the January survey to almost 10 percent in the October poll.
Agri-Pulse Editor Sara Wyant says that part of the dissatisfaction could be based on concerns about the overall farm economy, with low prices for many commodities and livestock products. Net farm income is forecast to be $71.5 billion in 2016, down 11.5 percent. If realized, the 2016 figure would be the lowest since 2009.
In the most recent poll, 60 percent of the farmers and ranchers expressed dissatisfaction with the ag economy, compared to about 50 percent in January. Among Democrats surveyed in October, the level of satisfaction/dissatisfaction with the ag economy was more equally split, with 49 percent satisfied versus 50 percent dissatisfied.
If there is one thing that farmers and ranchers agree on – across party lines, geography, age and farm size – it’s that federal regulatory policies related to agriculture are moving in the wrong direction. Over 70 percent of those surveyed said that regulatory policies are on the wrong track – up from 66 percent in January. Nationally, over three-quarters of respondents in the 25-34 age group agreed that things were on the wrong track.