If BEEF magazine readers had their say, John McCain would win the Nov. 4 election for U.S. president rather handily. By a margin of 81.5% to 9.9%, respondents to an exclusive email survey of BEEF readers said they planned to vote for the Republican candidate for U.S. president over the Democratic Party nominee, Barack Obama.

A total of 15,478 BEEF readers were polled by email Sept. 4-11, with 745 useable surveys returned (a 4.8% effective response rate). The survey consisted of asking respondents to indicate which candidate they believed offered the most benefit to the cattle industry on 17 different
issues, as well as enumerate which five among those issues were of the most concern to them as cattle producers in the upcoming election.

Concern over property rights topped the list, with national security, domestic energy exploration and production, repeal of the Death Tax, and maintaining the Bush tax cuts rounding out the top five. Preserving the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment (the right to bear arms), maintaining the capital gains tax at the current level of 15%, free trade, environmental regulation, and renewable fuels and ethanol production finished up the top 10.

The survey results, however, indicate there’s plenty of room for enlightenment on candidates’ positions, says Scott Grau, Penton Media research manager who conducted the study.

“Agriculture and agricultural issues have largely been ignored by both campaigns thus far,” Grau says. “The survey results indicate there are several areas where respondents aren’t sure of the candidates’ positions, which affords opportunity to whichever campaign decides to address them.”

For instance, 35.6% of respondents reported they weren’t familiar with candidates’ positions on packer ownership of fed cattle, 32.5% weren’t sure on candidates’ positions on animal ID and traceback, 28.5% of respondents “didn’t know” which candidate offered the most benefit in terms of privatization of Social Security, and 28.1% didn’t know the candidates’ stances on country-of-origin labeling. In addition, 25.6% of respondents weren’t sure which candidate would be best for the industry on antitrust issues related to beef industry consolidation/concentration.

Respondents, however, were emphatic on which candidate would be of most benefit on the Second Amendment (88.5% McCain vs. 3.8% Obama), nation-
al security (87.8% McCain vs. Obama’s 6.6%), and maintaining the Bush tax cuts (86.4% for McCain vs. 9% for Obama).

These latest results mirror those found in a May survey conducted by BEEF editors on the state of the industry. In that survey, 80.3% of respondents favored McCain, with 14.8% favoring Obama.


Here are some feedback that we have received thus far on this survey. What do you think? Post your feedback below.

This was one of the most blatant, rightwing-slanted surveys that I’ve ever been unfortunate enough to see. Why didn’t you just ask everyone to kiss the Republicans’ collective asses? As a magazine, BEEF should be ashamed of itself. I’ve raised cattle for 57 years and I doubt the candyass clowns who put this survey together would know a cow if one crapped on their shoes. - MD

This is a stupid and offensive survey. The questions are posed as real questions where you’re trying to find out how we think these issues might affect us. Rather, they’re posed as particular positions that, in most cases, McCain supports. So if we agree with the position, we, of course, must pick McCain, even if the issue has little or no relevance to our cattle interest.
Take, for example, the question on right to bear arms. How does this have any relevance to the health and prosperity of the cattle industry? Are we supposed to worry that if somehow our access to guns is impaired (which neither candidate threatens to do, by the way) we would not be able to protect our cattle from the Russians or something? BEEF should be ashamed by such cheap tactics and apologize for letting the magazine be used in such a politicized way. - SD