Focus on Rural America Poll Results: Iowans want a problem solver

Closing out 2018, Focus on Rural America’s December poll showed likely caucus-goers maintain a favorite – former Vice President Joe Biden.  Biden’s support dipped seven points since our September poll, but he remains at the top of a growing pack with support from 30 percent of Iowa Democrats.

While Biden is still a favorite, the spread widens as candidates like former Congressman Beto O’Rourke and Senator Amy Klobuchar gain support and familiarity. Our December poll features those new names as well as Sherrod Brown, Michael Bloomberg, and John Kerry.

Iowa Democrats value two key characteristics regarding the next nominee – someone who will rise above the partisan divide, and who is a tested and proven problem solver.  

Among the qualities we polled, appeal for someone who “knows how to negotiate and get things done” increased by 13 points, to 74 percent. Democrats prefer this quality over a candidate who promises to stick to their beliefs, even if it causes gridlock.

As well, Democrats are searching for a candidate with characteristics they can trust and rely on. The top two qualities voters are looking for in a candidate continue to be the ability “to heal the racial, ethnic and partisan divide”, and a reputation of “making good judgements and working with and listening to others.”

In terms of what voters want the next candidate to focus on, the problems we all face are top of mind. Even though President Trump continues to frustrate Iowa Democrats – with a 98% strongly unfavorable view – only 34 percent of Iowa progressives prioritize candidates who call for impeachment hearings.

Instead, issues Iowa’s likely caucus-goers are focused on are the problems we face today that will remain front and center for the next president. On the issues, in both our September and December polls, voters called out for leadership that will address the high cost of living and stand up for the middle class, fight against and lead on climate change, and invest in economic development for rural America. 

At the end of the day – progressives want someone who has what it takes to solve problems and will focus on the issues at hand.

View the results of our poll here.