Government

Polling finds rural state voters 'souring' on Trump

Jeff Link, Link Strategies
Jeff Link, Link Strategies
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Four years ago, Donald Trump was elected in large part on his strength in rural America, but polling in four Upper Midwest states suggests “a totally different scenario today than what we saw in 2016,” according to a Democratic campaign strategist.

Polling for Focus on Rural America in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan show “Trump is sinking hard and he may take congressional GOP candidates down with him,” Jeff Link said in a call with reporters Thursday.

Focus groups and polling across the four states — all but Minnesota went for Trump in 2016 — show voters souring on Trump, said Link, co-founder of the nonprofit that advocates for issues of interest to rural Americans.

The poll of 800 people — 200 in each state — found that by a 54 percent to 28 percent margin voters feel more negative about Trump than they did four years ago. In Iowa, the margin was 50 percent to 35 percent.

“Voters still give Trump credit for the economy and his business credentials, but that is it,” Link said.

The polling shows that voters think presumptive Democratic nominee former Vice President Joe Biden “will listen to experts, support farmers and heal the nation,” Link said.

Overall, the polling shows Biden with a 52 percent to 41 percent over the president. The race is closer in Iowa where Biden leads 49 percent to 43 percent.

Biden is seen as likely to do a better job by listening to the experts, bringing the country together, responding to COVID-19 and standing up for the middle class.

“The shared mind-set is stunning,” said former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge. “Trump promised rural voters he’d unleash the power of ethanol, he’d drain the swamp and he’d make America great for everyday Americans.”

However, voters see him as someone who “caters to his friends in big business and leaves the rest of us behind,” said Judge, a co-founder of the group.

Sixty-three percent of the voters are concerned by Trump’s use of Twitter to “lash out” at opponents.

The Republican National Committee wasn’t buying it.

“The fact that Joe Biden has to seek validation from a left-wing pollster 89 days out shows just how desperate his campaign is to breathe life into their nonexistent Iowa infrastructure,” RNC spokeswoman Preya Samsundar said.

Asked about rural issues, the respondents — about half from rural areas of the states, Link said — 51 percent said Biden would do a better job for people in small towns and rural America. Iowans agreed, 47 percent to 40 percent.

David Binder Research conducted an online survey from July 30-31. Respondents were reached via text message using phone numbers associated with their voter registration. The margin of error for the entire survey is 3.5 percent.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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