Rural Voters and the Farm Bill

Rural voters in swing states may have little to do with agriculture, but they think the Republican approach to the Farm Bill is better than the one favored by Democrats.

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Rural Democratic candidates are pounding on their Republican opponents for the failure of the Republican-controlled House to pass a Farm Bill.

Is that likely to work? We asked rural voters.

In the latest National Rural Assembly/Center for Rural Strategies poll of rural voters in swing states, we asked which party had the better Farm Bill strategy. Voters preferred the Republican policy, 61 percent to 27 percent.

Here is how we described the Democratic position on the Farm Bill:

Democrats have said allowing the Farm Bill to expire is devastating for rural America. The Farm Bill supports rural development programs, invests in renewable energy industry, and provides an important safety net for farmers and producers. It would especially help those suffering for record drought. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also called food stamps, not only helps feed people, but 14 cents per dollar of the money from this program goes into the pockets of farmers.

And the Republicans:

Republicans have said they want to pass a farm bill that is helpful to farmers and rural communities. Eighty percent of the current farm bill goes to fund the food stamp program, which is in dire need of reform. The number of people on food stamps has increased by 59 percent under President Obama, and the program is filled with waste and fraud. Many other provisions of the farm bill are badly outdated. We need a modern farm bill focused on helping farmers.

Voters said the Republican approach was closer to their view by a 34-point margin.

We should point out that not many rural voters actually have anything to do with farming. Only 7 percent of those polled said they or someone in their immediate family received more than half their income from farming, ranching or agriculture. Twelve percent received less than half from these industries.

Eight out of ten rural voters in swing states said nobody in their immediate family derived any income from agriculture.

 

 

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