The Iowa State Fair

Emily Cyr, Summer College Associate- Special Report

Now that it’s August, most Americans are packing up for their summer vacations; some are heading to the beach, others to lakes and mountains, but presidential candidates are jetting somewhere else this weekend- and that would be the Iowa State Fair.

Iowa is a state most identified with the word corn and rightfully so, considering it produces about 2.4 billion bushels of corn annually, which is more than another other state. The Hawkeye State is extremely proud of its agricultural expertise, which is why it hosts the Iowa State Fair each year.

This year, from August 13th until August 23rd, the Iowa State Fair will host around a million visitors during its 11 days, with attendance anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 on a given day. It is the largest event held in Iowa, and one of the oldest expositions of industry and agriculture in the country.  Some of the events at the fair will include the following: the Duck Calling Contest, the Mr. Legs Contest (where both the tannest and the palest legs will be awarded),  the Women’s Rubber Chicken Throwing Contest ( it is exactly what it sounds like) and of course what state fair would be complete without a hot dog eating contest. But speaking of hot dogs, what are the candidates up to at the fair?

As much as the candidates may hope to try Apple Pie On-a-Stick or sample the Ultimate Bacon Brisket Bomb, they are there as presidential candidates and must be careful to not drop the ball- or in Mitt Romney’s case, not drop the pork chop- on their campaigns.

In years past, candidates have both greatly enhanced and hindered their campaigns through simple fair activities. The pork chop reference is from 2007 when Mitt Romney was grilling and accidentally dropped one pork chop to the ground, and then when he enacted the five second rule, the crowded booed him. On the other hand, Rick Perry did not get such a flattering photo at the 2011 fair and instead is remembered for the photos of him eating a corn dog- an item that has been highly recommended for candidates to avoid in public. However, President Obama, then a just a candidate, showed his fun and fatherly side in a photo of him driving a bumper car with his daughter Sasha at the 2007 fair.

Food and games aside, part of the appeal in attending the fair is the opportunity to speak at the Soapbox, a small outdoor stage sponsored by the Des Moines Register.  As of now, 17 candidates are schedule to speak there, and, amidst bales of hay, try to win the hearts of Americans in 20 minutes.

Mike Huckabee, Jim Webb and Martin O’Malley were the first candidates to speak on Thursday, after the opening remarks were delivered by none other than President George Washington. As the candidates hope to gain support from voters who will participate in the Iowa caucuses in a few short months, Washington (portrayed by Ron Carnegie) declined to endorse a candidate because “Influence is not good government”.

So we will have to wait and see what happens to candidates at the fair but once it is over, who will be leading the polls? Will it still be Donald Trump or will the favored Iowa State Fair Butter Cow take the lead?

  

Photos by Katy Ricalde

Democrat Division

 By Jay Boyd, Fox News Summer College Associate

While the divide in the Republican Party has been discussed at length over the years, we could be witnessing an emergence of a divide in the Democratic Party as well.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has long been the presumptive nominee, but a combination of factors has led to her falling poll numbers, where she is currently underwater by 20 points in honesty and 11 points in favorability, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll. Her competitors, while not all polling well, are attempting to distance themselves from Clinton. However, recent fundraising numbers have her more than quadrupling the rest of the field.

Her closest rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, doesn’t even run in his home state as a Democrat – he’s an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Sanders has experienced a recent boom in support, which has resulted in a Franklin Pierce/Boston Herald poll that has him beating Clinton 44-37 in New Hampshire. Only 35 percent of those polled are “excited” by a Clinton candidacy, in addition. In the same poll in March, Sanders trailed Clinton 47-8, a remarkable turnaround spurred by a meteoric rise.

Recent events hosted by Sanders have reached rather spectacular crowd levels, attracting some of the largest crowds of any candidate in this stage of the primary season. Between three stops in Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles, the Vermont Senator had over 70,000 attendees, with the maximum topping out at 28,000 in Oregon. The majority of Clinton’s events are limited to smaller crowds, perhaps in a move to get the events to take on a more personal level. Sanders boasts over $15M in donations to his campaign, none of which are from PACs. Meanwhile, Hillary raked in roughly that amount through only her super-PAC in the first six months of 2015.

Vice President Joe Biden has been garnering poll numbers hovering around 10% for most of the summer, not quite the level of support Sanders has been receiving. However, should Biden enter the race, one could expect his numbers to spike, especially since he has higher favorable ratings than Clinton. Recent reports have said that Biden was encouraged to run by his late son, Beau, along with his other son, Hunter. Should he jump in the race, the most important endorsement, President Obama, may have to decide between his running mate and the “inevitable” nominee.

The one area where Clinton is experiencing consistent support is from the African-American community. While two of her rivals, Sanders and former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, have experienced backlash from them, Clinton has kept her nose clean, expressing support for the Black Lives Matter movement routinely. Her favorability among African-Americans is far and away the best in the Democratic field, but could be threatened by a Biden entry into the race.

Recent news about Clinton’s top secret emails on her private server is yet another hill that her campaign will have to climb to get above water in the honesty and trustworthiness polls. With her server now in the hands of the Justice Department, the e-mail scandal has the potential to get worse before it gets better. No other candidate on the Democratic side has had as many battles to fight as the Clinton campaign, and she seems to be taking a hit with her poll numbers as a result.

The dawn of a split in the Democratic Party could be upon us, but only time can truly tell.

Politics and Trust

By Jay Boyd, Fox News Summer College Associate

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are experiencing problems with favorability as the primary season approaches.

According to a recent Gallup poll, Republican candidates are a lot more likely to be known than liked among the Republican voters. The candidate with the most familiarity among Americans is Donald Trump, but he also has one of the lowest net favorability ratings. Jeb Bush is the second best-known candidate, but he barely cracks the top half of Republicans in terms of favorability. The top favored Republican candidates are Marco Rubio and Ben Carson, but they’re both below 65% in familiarity.

On the Democrat side, one candidate is experiencing a boom in favorability, while the other is encountering the exact opposite. Another Gallup poll shows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ favorability rating doubling since March, from 12 to 24 percent among Americans polled. At the same time, the percentage of people who view him unfavorably has risen from 12 to 20 percent. These numbers come from Americans becoming more aware of the Senator, with his familiarity rating going from 24 to 44 percent.

Those numbers could be directly correlated with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s fading favorability. In the same poll, Clinton’s favorability has plummeted to 43%. For reference, her favorability was just short of 60% as recently as 2014. However, she still holds the highest “absolute” ratings of Americans who view her favorably, when compared to her Democratic competitors. No other candidate on the Democratic side can touch her familiarity rating of 89%, as well.

What could explain the low net favorability ratings across the board? The poll numbers for trust in the government could.

A Fox News poll from June found that 61% of Americans do not trust the federal government. And this is not a new trend. In 2011 and 2013, 62% of Americans didn’t put their trust in Uncle Sam. Lack of transparency in the government could be the culprit of these numbers, with only 29% of Americans saying the federal government is appropriately transparent.

When the general consensus is that government is untrustworthy and opaque (or at the very least, translucent), the likelihood of the American people trusting anyone running for President is bound to be pretty low, regardless of party.

Americans could be looking for a candidate who sweeps them off their feet; someone who is smart, yet charismatic. Think Bill Clinton on the Arsenio Hall Show type of charisma. Think Ronald Reagan hearing a loud bang and saying “you missed me” (after being shot earlier in his presidency).

Faith and trust in government have hit near rock bottom levels in the 2000s-- and we will have to wait and see if a candidate emerges that can change that.

Snapchat, Politics and Millennials

By Emily Cyr, Special Report Summer Associate

With the 2016 presidential campaigns underway, candidates have a new media platform to consider: Snapchat.

While the video-messaging app that debuted in 2011 has been largely used to send pictures and videos between friends, it has now become a way to connect with presidential candidates.

Sen. Rand Paul(R-Ky) and Gov. Rick Perry are two candidates who have created Snapchat accounts so supporters can follow their campaigns and behind the scene action.

Candidates Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush have gone a step further. Both Clinton and Bush were featured on Our Story, a video stream on Snapchat that is published from a live event via audience submissions. When Clinton held her first campaign rally at Roosevelt Island on June 13th, Snapchat users anywhere could follow the event and the same happened for Jeb Bush’s announcement at Miami Dade College Kendall two days later.

A current job posting shows Snapchat looking to further expand its role in political coverage by creating a new content team of “political junkies and news aficionados” to filter Our Story events and 2016 presidential coverage. 

This could be a major source of political news for millennials; Snapchat recently released statistics stating that over 60% of people from 13-34 in the U.S with smartphones are using Snapchat and that 18-24 year olds are the largest group of users, representing 37%.

With upwards of 2 billion video views per day on Snapchat, candidates have plenty of opportunities to get their message to the young voter demographic.

2016 Contenders: Senator Rick Santorum

A few of the questions and answers you didn't get to hear on the show--

Twitter Conversations Around Midterm Elections

We sat down with Adam Sharp, Head of Twitter News, Government and Elections, to discuss some of the key issues voters across the United States are talking about ahead of Tuesday's  midterms. What is the number one thing people are talking about in regards to politics and this election? President Obama-- and we will see if that makes a difference when voters head to the polls.

 

 

Race for 2016: The Biden Factor

FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SAY THEY ARE ALL BUT CERTAIN HE WON'T RUN AGAINST HILLARY CLINTON IF SHE DOES IN FACT DECIDE TO RUN IN 2016. 
 
POLLS SHOW THE FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE AS THE CLEAR FRONTRUNNER ON THE ROAD TO THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION, BUT PARTY ANGST ABOUT THE CLINTON JUGGERNAUT COULD PAVE THE WAY FOR AN ENTIRE FIELD OF ALTERNATES --INCLUDING MASSACHUSETTES SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN, MARYLAND GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY, NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, AND VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN. 
 
TRADITIONALLY IN AMERICAN POLITICS IF THE PRESIDENT IS NOT RUNNING AND THE VICE PRESIDENT WANTS THE PARTY NOMINATION IT IS HIS FOR THE TAKING. FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY OPTED NOT TO RUN IN 2008 BUT STILL REMAINS A KEY FIGURE IN THE POLITICAL ARENA. 
 
AT SEVENTY ONE, BIDEN IS FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN HILLARY. HE HAS ALSO RUN FOR PRESIDENT TWICE BEFORE, FIRST IN 1988 WHEN HE DROPPED OUT FOLLOWING PLAGIARISM ALLEGATIONS AND AGAIN IN 2008 WHEN DESPITE NOTABLE ENDORESMENTS HE WITHDREW FROM THE RACE AFTER CAPTURING LESS THAN 1% OF THE VOTE IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES.  
 
A BIDEN RUN MAY NOT BE APPEALING ON THE LEFT--ANXIOUS TO BREAK ANOTHER BARRIER.

Mitt Romney in 2016?

Even though Mitt Romney has said he has no plans to venture into the 2016 presidential race, ardent supporters still feel he is the person who should occupy the White House.  But Romney appears to be a reluctant draftee, telling Fox News last month "no thanks... I'm not running."  Romney is not completely out of campaign-mode, however, appearing last week with New Hampshire senatorial candidate Scott Brown.  A recent Quinnipiac poll listed Barack Obama as the worst president since WWII and 45% of respondents think the country would be better off if Romney had been elected president in 2012.  Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron reports from Washington tonight for Special Report on the push for Mitt to run again.  

Do you think Mitt Romney should run again in 2016?

Official Portrait Unveiling

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush to the White House this afternoon for the official unveiling of the Bush's portrait. A few jokes were exchanged and both families shared memories of living in the White House and raising their daughters.

Mitt Romney-- too wealthy?

Governor Mitt Romney doesn't think it's odd that most Americans say they do not know that much about him. In fact-he jokes we might know more than we want to by the time this race is over. The former Massachusetts governor also mentions that he doesn't think his wealth will affect how ordinary Americans relate to him and his family.

 

"This is not a nation that divides people based upon whether they've been successful or not. We don't say, 'oh, boy, this person won the lottery and therefore they can't understand me,'" Romney told Fox News. "We instead look at people and celebrate their success and their achievement and we look for people who have the skills we think will make our lives better."

So we want to know..what do you think? Do you relate with Governor Romney and his family? Does his wealth affect how you view him?

You can catch more of Bill Hemmer's interview with Mitt and Ann Romney tonight on Special Report!

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Coming Up

The race for the White House continues as the candidates on the GOP side campaign in South Carolina and the Democrats are in Milwaukee for a debate.

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