Trump Losing Support Among Farmers Over Handling of Virus, Survey Says

Source: By Michael Hirtzer, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2020

  • Survey shows 71% of farmers back Trump, down from 89% in April
  • Farm-sentiment index slumps to lowest in a decade, DTN says

President Donald Trump is losing re-election support among farmers over his handling of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a survey by agriculture publisher DTN Progressive Farmer.

A survey of at least 500 farmers showed 71% plan to vote for Trump, down from 89% in April, DTN said Wednesday in a statement. The data showed 43% were satisfied with the response to the pandemic, down from 84%.

Farmers and ranchers tend to be conservative and have applauded Trump’s deregulation efforts, even as a trade war with China damped exports of soybeans, cotton and pork. The virus prompted lockdowns across the U.S., roiling agricultural markets with corn-based ethanol plants closed because of fewer drivers on the roads, while meat plants shut after workers caught the virus.

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Donald Trump participates in an Iowa Disaster Recovery Briefing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Aug. 18. Photographer: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have visited Iowa this month to shore up the rural vote. Trump this week approved an emergency declaration for the state after a powerful storm flattened crops and knocked out power for days in some areas.

DTN conducts a telephone survey three times a year of farmers active in their operation. Four years ago, the survey showed Trump was poised to capture the rural vote over Hillary Clinton.

A farmer-sentiment index reading of 47 for the current environment is the lowest in over 10 years. Levels above 100 are considered optimistic.

“Comparatively speaking, in August 2020, pessimism is even lower than it was in August 2016, but the future outlook is much greater,” DTN said. “This indicates that farmers may believe their vote for the current administration will result in a better outlook over the coming months and year.”

— With assistance by Isis Almeida