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Home » 2018 Election Activities, Federal Agency, Opinions, Policy, White House

With Trade War, Farmer Support for Trump Erodes Sharply

Submitted by on August 7, 2018 – 4:32 pmNo Comment

by Chuck Abbott (Fern’s Ag Insider)  One-in-seven farmers who voted for President Trump in 2016 would not vote for him today, according to a poll released on Monday. The escalating trade war was the leading cause of erosion for Trump among a staunchly Republican group. But a majority still back him: 60 percent would vote for him now vs. 75 percent in 2016.

Support for Trump in farm country generally mirrors party affiliation, according to Farm Futures, which polled 924 farmers from July 20-Aug 2. Three-fourths of farmers identify themselves as Republicans and 10 percent Democrats; roughly the same as the 75-11 split in the farm vote between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The remaining 14 percent voted for third-party candidates or did not vote in 2016.

The decline in support for Trump appeared to be concentrated among Republicans. No one who backed Clinton in 2016 would switch sides today, according to the poll.

“Trade seems to be the sticking point for the president’s wavering supporters because most farmers give Trump high marks in other areas,” said Farm Futures. Growers overwhelmingly support the president on regulatory relief and immigration but two-thirds agreed with the statement, “President Trump has not done enough to support the biofuels industry.” 

Large majorities of farmers said they were willing to give Trump more time to work out trade deals. They believe that tariffs may hurt in the short term “but my farm will be better off under President Trump in the long run.” At the same time, 40 percent said Trump’s actions on trade have permanently damaged agriculture,.

Exports generate 20 percent of farm income so farmers pay attention to trade disruptions. Since the late 1970s, exports have been regarded as a path for farm prosperity. Economist Dave Widmar said farm income could fall to “levels last observed during the farm financial crisis of the 1980s” without the agricultural aid of up to $12 billion proposed by the administration. “Net farm income slipping below $50 billion would have sent major concerns throughout the farm economy,” wrote Widmar at the Agricultural Economic Insights blog.

“Beyond 2018, one has to wonder what happens if trade relations don’t improve,” said Widmar. “Lower income would likely trigger additional adjustments in farm capital purchases, cash rental rates and farmland values.”

 If commodity prices remain subdued, voters will be less forgiving of Republican incumbents, said David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report.  READ MORE

Farmers brace for bitter harvest under Trump’s trade war (Washington Examiner)

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