In our effort to understand what’s happening in Iowa and the trends taking place from one election to the next, Focus on Rural America’s inaugural, September 20, 2018, poll surveyed 500 Iowans who are likely to attend the 2020 Democratic caucus.

A large number of respondents, 94 percent, said their view of President Trump is strongly unfavorable. This is one of the highest percentages ever seen in polling on the favorability of a public figure.

So, what are Iowans looking for in a new leader?

Among their top priorities are characteristics to which Iowans can relate. Democratic caucus-goers want to see candidates who are known for good judgement on issues that impact all of us. Candidates should stand comfortably on a reputation of listening to others and reference their experience working across the aisle with people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Top issues among Iowans surveyed are that candidates need to value and believe in science, lead on climate change, and support renewable biofuels. Candidates must accept the evidence that our climate is changing and commit to making America a leader on this issue once again. 70 percent of respondents believe it’s important that candidates for President support expanding renewable biofuels, like ethanol, which reduce greenhouse gases by 43 percent compared to gasoline.

Our communities need leaders who focus on evidence and will prioritize research and innovation. We need creative solutions to revitalize rural communities, like renewable biofuels and wind generation, and go beyond to improve health services, good jobs, and housing. Candidates need to visit, listen, and work to understand how important these investments are in rural towns.

Less important, resonating with only 38 percent of respondents, is the idea that candidates should bring out-side-the-beltway experience. Caucus-goers expressed more interest in candidates that have government experience and know-how to get things done.

These results show that Iowa caucus-goers want candidates to listen to and unify our nation. By having conversations and creating long-lasting partnerships, we can begin tackling the problems facing both rural and urban voters – the increasing cost-of-living, middle class values, and jobs that will support a greener economy.