Here’s a quick question for you… where are most of the 2016 candidates trying to “get it right” in Iowa to score some early points in the primary but definitely getting it very, very wrong in terms of where the rest of the nation is? The answer is their position on the Renewable Fuel Standard and ethanol mixing in fuels. A new survey from Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research and Consulting was released this week and whether you are a Republican or a Democrat, you’re bucking the majority of the country if you keep feeding into this archaic, unpopular and generally unproductive system.
Here are a few of the highlights:
Voters across party lines oppose requiring increasing amounts of corn ethanol be blended in gasoline. Overall 45 percent oppose, 31 percent favor, and 24 percent remain undecided.
• Nationally, 56 percent of self-identified Republicans oppose the corn ethanol mandate, as do 44 percent of independents and 36 percent of Democrats. More Democrats and independents oppose the ethanol mandate than support it.
• Informing voters about the impacts of increased ethanol usage in gasoline raises serious concerns. All facts generate significant concerns across party lines, particularly around the impacts of diverting corn for ethanol production on food costs, and the damage higher blends of corn ethanol can pose to engines in cars.
• Majorities of voters support two bi-partisan proposals before Congress, one to limit the amount of corn ethanol used in gasoline at 10% (54 percent favor), and another to repeal the corn ethanol requirements of the renewable fuel standard (55 percent favor).
One additional comment from the company running the survey:
“Voters across party lines express grave concerns for the impacts of the corn ethanol mandate from the Renewable Fuel Standard that touch many parts of their lives from the cars they drive to the food they buy,” said Celinda Lake, president of Lake Research Partners. “They strongly support bi-partisan proposals that would reduce the impact of corn ethanol, and particularly support the EPA reducing the amount of corn ethanol required by law.”
How many of the POTUS candidates on the GOP side have taken any sort of firm stand on this, when it should be such a no brainer? We’ve had a few mouthing platitudes about “not wanting to pick winners and losers” or saying they support eliminating the RFS “eventually” but the majority of them have once again caved to Iowa primary voters. The only two who come to mind are Cruz and Fiorina, yet sadly they are both currently languishing in the second or third tier of polling at best and Fiorina is in danger of not even making the debates next month.
The folks at the top of the list are also mostly doing well in Iowa, which should come as no surprise. But this is how the system seems to poison itself. If all of the campaign teams would take a look at these numbers they might realize that it’s probably worth upsetting a few corn farmers in the interest of listening to their base across the rest of the nation, as well as the independents they will need in the general election should they make it that far.