A slightly larger number of American farmers voiced their support for Donald Trump ahead of "phase one" of the deal with China according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.
With that said, these numbers are far from mind blowing and we have reasons to believe it won't last.
Among those polled in late December who said they or an immediate family member work in the agriculture industry, 49% approved of the way Trump is handling American farming and 40% disapproved. In September, 43% approved and 45% disapproved.
Of the poll’s total 4,441 respondents, 39% said they approved of the way the president is handling American farming, up from 36% in September, while 41% disapproved, down from 44%.
Given that approximately 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump, his approval rating among farmers is actually relatively poor.
If we infer that this marginal increase in support was primarily the result of headlines and happy talk from the White House, it may not last very long. We're just weeks away from a different sort of headline asking where the beef is.
In any case, I expect a slim majority of farmers and their families will still vote for Trump later this year even if farm bankruptcies continue to climb and Trump eventually decides to escalate his trade war again. Democrats should not count on and possibly not even consider turning states like Iowa blue again. It may be wiser to spend time and energy in more diverse states with a wider variety of industries that haven't received bailout checks from Trump.