One of the constant media themes over the past couple of years has been the story of how terrible Donald Trump’s trade wars with various countries – particularly China – have been for farmers in the midwest. They are allegedly further angered by the President’s “favors” to the oil and gas industry in the form of waivers granted to smaller refineries under the Renewable Fuel Standard, leading to lower prices for corn. This, if you believe what’s regularly repeated on CNN and other outlets, has led to Trump’s support among those in the agricultural community declining. The farmers are angry at the toll that’s been taken on their profits and their way of life.
This mantra has been picked up in outlets both large and small. One example can be found in this breathless article from The Gazette in Iowa. It declares, “No more Iowa nice!” The article then goes on to suggest that farmers are so upset with Trump’s EPA that he’s losing support among a group that was previously solidly behind him.
The warnings were pointed and the language forceful.
Iowa renewable fuels industry leaders and farmers are not happy with President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency. And that frustration may be costing the president significant support in a state he won handily three years ago.
Well, that certainly sounds pretty bad. Trump could be in real trouble if he’s losing the support of these folks. Except there’s a problem with the coverage. The people who are quoted are, for the most part, not farmers at all. They’re representatives of some of the largest organizations in the ethanol lobby. Of course they’re upset. But what about the actual farmers? Somebody should poll them.
Oh, wait. Someone already did. And in a surprising turn of events, Trump’s support among midwest farmers has actually increased significantly this year. (Farm Journal)
Farmer approval for President Donald Trump rose to 76% in September, according to the latest Farm Journal Pulse Poll. His ratings rebounded from a fall in August amid turmoil over trade deals and corn grower discontent over oil industry exemptions to ethanol blending requirements.
The August Pulse marked the first time the president’s ‘strongly approve’ rating among farmers fell below the 50% mark, dropping to 43%. However, that number showed a strong reversal in September by climbing to 55% “strongly approve.”
“The rise in the ‘strongly approve’ category, to 55% from 43%, is important,” noted Pro Farmer Policy Analyst Jim Wiesemeyer, “because that shows the president continues to garner support among his strongest backers, including many in the ag sector.
These are some crazy numbers. It’s tough to find a segment of voters where President Trump’s approval is this strong. Seeing 76% approval – with 55% “strongly approving” – is just about the best he or any president could hope for. It also puts the lie to this idea that his base of support in the midwest is crumbling, even amidst endless news about impeachment inquiries and trade wars.
NPR went out in the field (almost literally) and did some interviews with farmers in Iowa. Their findings were pretty much in line with the poll I linked above. Some of them are definitely concerned about the trade wars with China and all of the incendiary headlines coming out of Washington. But even for all of that, most of them remain hopeful. And they’re sticking with Donald Trump as the guy who will eventually fix these problems.
Don’t buy into the hype, folks. The majority of the news media has a specific narrative they need to push on a daily basis. But the underlying truth is often quite different.