New Poll Shows Food Issues Are Highly Persuasive Among Likely Swing Voters

Food Policy Action and Lake Research Partners release findings from nationwide survey on food policy

Washington, D.C. – Today, Food Policy Action released the results of a nationwide survey conducted by Lake Research Partners. The survey showed that voters care deeply about policy-related messages on nutrition assistance, food safety and farm subsidies. When it comes to protecting nutrition assistance for vulnerable groups like women and children, and veterans, voters are even more likely to find this message important and persuasive.

“Voters have a right to know where their representatives in Washington stand on food safety, hungry kids and seniors, and the agenda of big food companies and the agribusiness lobby,” said Ken Cook, chairman of the board of Food Policy Action. “By tracking votes on high priority food issues, Food Policy Action is the only comprehensive source of information that holds Members of Congress accountable for decisions that affect parents, working families, kids and seniors every day.”

“Clearly, the food that feeds our families is a high priority for all Americans,” said Claire Benjamin, Managing Director of Food Policy Action. “The next step is helping voters connect the dots between food on their dinner tables and the decisions made in Washington. The best way to do this is through educating voters on the messages that resonates the most – the current state of nutrition assistance and food safety.”

About Food Policy Action

Food Policy Action was established in 2012 through a collaboration of national food policy leaders in order to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming. Our goal is to change the national dialogue on food policy by educating the public on how elected officials are voting on these issues. Through education and the National Food Policy Scorecard, more people will be armed with the information they need to vote with their forks and elect more food policy leaders across the country.


To:                          Interested Parties
Fr:                           Lake Research Partners
Re:                         Findings from a nationwide survey

Date:                     October 8th, 2014

Voters respond well to a number of messages surrounding food policy and casting their vote against politicians who support harmful policies. The most convincing message focuses on cuts to food stamps and the impact that these cuts will have on veterans. Cuts to funding for food inspectors impacting food safety and subsidizing corporate farms at the expense of small family farms are also convincing reasons to vote against politicians. Additionally, across party, a strong majority finds these messages convincing, including a third of voters who find them very convincing. Getting these messages out to voters can help drive voters against politicians who take unpopular stands around food policy. These messages work especially well among seniors and older voters – the demographics more likely to turn out in an off year.

A message that focuses on veterans and the impact of cuts to food stamps is found convincing to over seven out of ten voters, with half saying it is very convincing (71 percent convincing, 50 percent very convincing).

Message Text: The men and women who serve in our military protecting this country, and their families, deserve our support when they return. We should vote against politicians who want to cut food stamps, for 170,000 veterans who have not been able to find a job.

  • Strong majorities of voters across demographic groups find this message convincing.
  • Looking at the intensity behind this message, it is the top message across most demographic groups – men, younger men, older men, older women, non-college women and men, college educated men, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, married men, and across all regions.
  • This message is particularly convincing to seniors, older men, older non-college educated men, voters in the Northeast, married men, Democrats, Democratic women, and older Democrats.
  • Across party, voters find this  message convincing, with Democrats finding it most convincing (78 percent convincing, 55 percent very convincing), followed closely by Independents (74 percent, 45 percent), and Republicans (63 percent, 46 percent).

While a message around cutting food stamps and the impact on children tests slightly lower (63 percent convincing, 30 percent very convincing), it is the strongest message overall for voters under 30 (69 percent convincing).

Message Text: Ensuring seniors and children have enough to eat is important, and we should make sure that our most vulnerable do not go to bed hungry. We should vote against politicians who support eliminating food stamps for 1.8 million seniors and families.

  • Younger women, post graduates, college educated women, married women, Democrats, especially strong Democrats, also find this a convincing message.

A message focused on food safety is also convincing to over two-thirds of voters (68 percent), with a plurality saying it is very convincing (41 percent).

Message Text: When grocery shopping, you should not have to worry if the food has been protected from dangers like e coli. We should vote against politicians who want to slash funding for food inspectors and programs that identify unsafe food and protect our families.

  • While the veteran message ranks as the top message for most demographic groups, the food safety message is the top message for women, voters under 30, younger women, and college educated women. It also splits as the top message for married women.
  • This message is particularly convincing to women across the spectrum – younger and older women, college and non-college educated women, married and unmarried women, and Democratic and Republican women.
  • Seniors, older non-college educated voters, and voters in the Northeast also respond strongly to this message.
  • Democrats, especially strong Democrats and older Democrats, respond to this message, but Independents and Republicans also rate this message well with six out of ten voters rating this message convincing (Democrats: 76 percent convincing, 49 percent very convincing; Independents: 65 percent, 31 percent; Republicans: 62 percent, 35 percent).

Similar numbers respond to a message around corporate farm subsidies and the impact on small family farms (64 percent convincing, 42 percent very convincing).

Message Text: Washington politicians give millions in taxpayer subsidies to corporate farms, while small family farmers get virtually no help. We should vote against politicians who side with the corporate farms and big businesses who fund their campaigns instead of helping small family farmers.

  • Strong majorities across party lines rate this message as convincing. (Democrats: 72 percent convincing, 54 percent very convincing); Independents: 50 percent, 33 percent: Republicans: 60 percent, 33 percent).
  • Older men and women, older non-college voters, voters in the Northeast, married men, older whites, and Democrats, especially older Democrats find this message convincing.
  • Across party we again see Democrats as the most supportive (72 percent convincing, 54 percent very convincing), followed by Independents (58 percent, 39 percent), and Republicans (60 percent, 33 percent).
  • This message ties with the veteran message among Democrats as the top message.

# # #

Lake Research Partners designed this survey that was administered by Caravan in an omnibus survey conducted by telephone using professional interviewers.  The survey reached a total of 1,009 adults 18 years of age and older including 766 likely 2014 general election voters nationwide in the continental United States.  The survey was conducted from September 25-28, 2014. The margin of error for the total sample is +/- 3.1% and +/- 3.7% for the likely 2014 voters.

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