Trump narrows Biden’s lead in swing rural states, but still trails as election looms: poll

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In a new poll released by Focus on Rural America  President Trump narrowed his deficit from 11 points to 5, trailing challenger Joe Biden 50-45 percent across the states of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The President trailed Biden 52-41 in a similar poll conducted in early August. The poll was conducted for FORA by RG Strategies, who conducted a telephone and online survey of 600 likely November 2020 voters from October 10-13. The survey consisted of 200 interviews each in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The margin of error for the entire survey is ± 4.0%, and 6.9% for each individual state.

“Three weeks out from the election, President Trump is trailing and it’s outside the margin of error,” said FORA co-founder Jeff Link, noting that he was surprised that the President was campaigning in Iowa, a state he won by 9 percent in 2020. Link said that the campaign clearly wasn’t playing offense, but was rather defending its strongholds, and speculated that the Democratic Party is focusing more on rural issues since the shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In a concerning result for the President’s re-election fortunes in these rural states, 47 percent of respondents said that their opinion of President Trump is more negative today than in 2016, while 37 percent said they had a more positive view. 52 percent of respondents suggested that the President puts his personal or re-election interests ahead of the American people’s interests. Meanwhile, 47 percent of respondents said that former Vice President Joe Biden is better for small towns and Rural America, and 89 percent said that it was important to them that a candidate prioritizes small towns and Rural America. 49 percent of respondents said that Biden was better at understanding life in Rural America compared to 39% for the President, and 49 percent said that Biden was better on access to health care, compared to 41 percent for the President.

The issues that mattered to respondents? A whopping 85 percent said that rural broadband was very important to them. 57 percent said that the President should take actions to cut red tape and make E15 ethanol fuel more widely available, and 64 percent said that farmers could be a bigger part of climate solutions through biobased products.

State by state results were made available by Focus on Rural America, but co-founder Jeff Link noted that the margin of error on a small sample of 200 was 7 percent, and state results should be approached with caution. Overall, Biden led Trump by 10 percent in Wisconsin, 11 percent in Minnesota, and the President led Biden by 7 percent in Iowa.

Key results at a glance

If the election for President were held today, for whom would you vote?

 

Biden
Trump
Overall
50
45
Iowa
44
50
Minnesota
52
41
Wisconsin
53
43

 

Thinking about your opinion of Donald Trump when he was running for election in 2016, is your opinion of him today …

 

More Positive
More Negative
Overall
37
47
Iowa
38
44
Minnesota
37
52
Wisconsin
36
47

 

If you had to choose, would you say Donald Trump puts…

 

The American people first
His interests and his reelection first
Overall
44
52
Iowa
47
48
Minnesota
43
53
Wisconsin
43
56

 

Between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, who do you think would do a better job for people living in small towns and rural America?

 

Biden
Trump
Overall
47
44
Iowa
45
47
Minnesota
47
43
Wisconsin
49
42

 

Methodology

RG Strategies conducted a telephone and online survey of 600 likely November 2020 voters from October 10-13. The survey consisted of 200 interviews each in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Respondents were reached either by cell or landline phone, or via text message using phone numbers associated with their voter registration. The margin of error for the entire survey is ± 4.0%, and 6.9% for each individual state.


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