In the post-debate poll in Iowa, Focus on Rural America found some shakeups among the Democratic presidential contenders and some key takeaways for the field. Iowa Democrats are focused on electability and they see rural issues and a rural strategy as key to that end.

“The candidates are showing up in rural Iowa and voters are noticing. Most have come out with rural plans and that alone is more than we saw from Democrats in 2016. With Trump picking oil and gas over the rural economy, Democrats have a real opportunity. This poll shows without a doubt that Iowa Democrats want our candidates to talk about this because they recognize rural Iowa is a key component of any path to the White House,” said Jeff Link, Co-Founder of Focus on Rural America.

Voters don’t believe that President Trump allowing year-round E15 is enough to fix his Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to give small refinery waivers to oil refineries, like Exxon and Chevron, and 76 percent believe the Trump Administration actions will hurt Iowa’s farmers and rural economy. An astounding 89 percent of voters believe that it is important Democratic candidates bring up the issue of the Trump oil giveaways and the disastrous effects for Iowa, with 57 percent saying that it is extremely or very important. Additionally, 83 percent of Iowa Democratic voters believe that Democrats should campaign in rural areas and make their case to rural residents.

“If Democrats keep showing up in rural communities and standing up for rural voters, we will win the 2020 election. We have an incredible field of candidates and most of them are focused on revitalizing the rural economy, undoing the damage of Trumps small refinery waivers, and restoring some order to politics-as-usual,said Patty Judge, Chair of Focus on Rural America and past Lt. Governor and Secretary of Agriculture for Iowa.

Other key findings:

  • If the caucuses were held today Biden would win, taking 25%, however Warren closely trails with 23%. Continuing to gain momentum, Buttigieg took 12%. Sanders and Klobuchar follow at 9% and 8%.
  • More than half of voters have ruled out Castro (60%) and Yang (64%), while 46% have decided against Sanders and O’Rourke.
  • Based solely on debate performance, 18% of caucus goers ruled out Castro, while 9% wouldn’t support Biden.

Support for a centrist candidate remains. 60% said they believe Democrats need to move to the center to beat Trump. 32% strongly believe beating Trump will take a moderate Democrat.