Agri-Pulse Poll shows most farmers will vote Romney, blame Democrats on farm bill

By Sarah Gonzalez

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2012- According to the Agri-Pulse Farm and Rural Poll released today, 78 percent of farm and ranch owners polled are voting for Mitt Romney in the presidential election and largely blame Democrats for the failure to pass a new farm bill. 

On November 1, 2012, Pulse Opinion Research conducted a survey of 319 likely voters with farms of over 500 acres. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 6.0 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.

The telephone survey found that 71 percent of respondents strongly disapprove of President Obama's job performance while 12 percent strongly approve. Of all farmers polled, 51 percent labeled themselves Republican, 26 percent Democrat.

It may not be surprising that 92 percent of self-identified Republican respondents picked Romney as their presidential vote, but more than half (53 percent) of the self-identified Democrat respondents also picked Romney. Additionally, 74 percent of farmers who identified themselves as “other” in party affiliation expressed preference for Romney.

Asked whether Republicans or Democrats are to blame for the failure to pass a new farm bill, 46 percent answered Democrats while 28 percent said both parties are equally responsible. Nineteen percent blamed Republicans. Interestingly, 35 percent of self-identified Democrats blamed their own party, while only 7 percent of self-identified Republicans blamed theirs. Many (42 percent) are “not very optimistic” that a new farm bill will pass before the end of 2012.

A majority (58 percent) of respondents believe the next president will cut farm program spending, regardless of which is elected. However, if more money is available to spend on farm programs, the most popular way to spend the money is improving crop insurance, as chosen by 37 percent of farmers polled. Notably, 49 percent of farmers indicated they grow only crops, 48 percent indicated they grow crops as well as raise livestock and 3 percent raise only livestock. 

The farmers believe that environmental regulations and tax burdens are the biggest threats facing the future of their farming operations, 33 percent and 29 percent, respectively. The next most popular answer is “activist groups who oppose modern farming methods” at 16 percent. To this question, 42 percent of self-identified liberal respondents chose tax burdens as their greatest threat and 36 percent of self-identified conservatives chose environmental regulations.

Most respondents agreed that the renewable fuels standard (RFS) is “very important” or “somewhat” important for the future profitability of U.S. agriculture. Only 12 percent indicated it was “not very important” or “not at all important,” while 12 percent said they are “not sure.” Half of farmers who raise only livestock answered that continuing the RFS is “very important.” 

When it comes to the approval of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack's job performance, 41 percent “somewhat approve,” while 26 percent “somewhat disapprove.” 

For more details regarding the survey demographics and how each category answered, click here.

The telephone survey of 319 likely voters with farms of over 500 acres was conducted by Pulse Opinion Research on November 1, 2012. Pulse Opinion Research, LLC is an independent public opinion research firm using automated polling methodology and procedures licensed from Rasmussen Reports, LLC.

According to Pulse Opinion Research, LLC, calls were placed to randomly-selected phone numbers through a process that insures appropriate geographic representation. After the calls are completed, the raw data is processed through a weighting program to insure that the sample reflects the overall population in terms of age, race, gender, political party, and other factors. The processing step is required because different segments of the population answer the phone in different ways. For example, women answer the phone more than men, older people are home more and answer more than younger people, and rural residents typically answer the phone more frequently than urban residents.

For the full survey questions, the answer options and the polling results: http://www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/Survey_results_likely_voters.pdf

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