Donald Trump remains the top choice of farmers in the race for the White House in 2016, according to the latest Farm Futures presidential poll. But the brash billionaire businessman still lacks a majority among growers with a Republican preference as the second half of the primary season gets underway.
Trump topped the GOP field with 40% among farmers, slightly better than in our last survey in January before the Iowa Caucuses kicked off the race. The battle for second place heated up after most of the field dropped out. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, winner of only his home state of Ohio, topped Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 26% to 24%. While Cruz placed second in January, Kasich has picked up support from some in the so-called “establishment wing” of the party.
Related story: U.S., Iowa farmers favor Trump
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maintained a commanding lead among farmers with a preference for another Democrat in the White House. Clinton topped Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders 72% to 28%, though only 8% of those surveyed indicated a preference for a Democrat.
While many farmers have locked down their choices, a significant number remain uncommitted. Some 13% overall said they were undecided, while another 4% selected “none of the above” or don’t plan on voting.
Farmers from both sides of the aisle again said the most important issue in the election was “the way government in Washington operates.” Republicans selected he federal budget deficit second, just ahead of the economy. Democrats put “income and wealth inequality” second, with the economy third.
Undecided voters shared concern over Washington as an issue, but placed the economy second, with the economy a distant third as an issue in the election.
Related story: Trump scores big win in Iowa
Farm Futures surveyed 1,202 growers nationwide March 7 to March 23. Respondents were invited by email to fill out an online questionaire. Ben Carson and Marco Rubio suspended their candidacies after the survey was finalized. Carson was picked by 3% of the GOP-leaning farmers, with Rubio at 8%.