NBC affiliate WHO-TV Des Moines says the race between Republican and Democratic candidates for the White House is the closest in the 15 years it has been "corn polling."
The station hands out corn kernels at the Iowa State Fair (Aug. 8-18) and enough mason jars to "corncast" their votes for all the candidates (in this case, 24 Democrats and two Republicans).
When the kernels for each party's candidates were tallied, there were 33,280 votes for the Republicans (Trump 32,375, Bill Weld 905), and 33,165 for the gaggle of Dems (see chart below), with Pete Buttigieg coming in second behind former Vice President Joe Biden.
“While we know the corn poll isn’t scientific, it has proven in the past to be a pretty reliable measure of the attitudes of Iowans at fair time," said WHO-TV political reporter Dave Price.
Turnout for the poll was the third highest since it was launched, and it was an off-year poll at that. No. 1 was in 2012, when the two candidates had been decided and Mitt Romney defeated President Obama (in the kernel poll only), 55% to 45%, with a total of 72,216 kernels cast. Number three was the 69,598 who voted in 2016, when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton 56% to 44%.
Obama was the only Democrat to win the poll, defeating John McCain 51% to 49%.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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