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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OCTOBER 14, 2003
1:31 PM
CONTACT:  Bread for the World
Marco Grimaldo (202) 258-1381
Scott Denman (301) 509-7480
New Poll Shows Hunger is a Priority for Voters
 
WASHINGTON - October 14 - Democrat candidates for President of the United States continue their push in Iowa and New Hampshire this week, while worldwide, 840 million people are chronically undernourished and in our own country, hunger is on the rise. A new poll on hunger and politics was released today by Bread for the World. The survey is sponsored by Alliance to End Hunger member, Sodexho USA. This study of likely Democratic caucus-goers and primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire reveals strong concerns about hunger in America and the world.

The survey finds that American voters care deeply about hunger and likely caucus-goers and primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire want to hear more from candidates about their ideas for fighting hunger and poverty.

"Hunger is a higher priority for voters than conventional political wisdom would indicate," said Bread for the World president, David Beckmann.

In many cases, compared with other important issues, hunger and poverty is potent issue, outpacing even foreign affairs and terrorism. When it comes to hunger in the United States, voters want to make sure that anti-hunger programs remain a high priority and are protected against budget cuts.

96 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers and 94 percent of New Hampshire primary voters said that it is important to them that during these times of budget cuts and tough economic times, the government should fund anti-hunger programs such as the school lunch program, the Women Infants and Children Program (WIC), Food Stamps and programs to feed American seniors.

90 percent of likely caucus-goers and primary voters in Iowa and New Hampshire say that a candidate's position on reducing the hunger and poverty problem will be important when deciding their vote for president.

83 percent of Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire and 79 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers approve of increasing the United States' efforts to reduce poverty and deal with AIDS worldwide.

74 percent of Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire and 59 percent of Iowa caucus-goers approve of President Bush's proposal to increase U.S. support for developing democracies by $10 billion for the next three years.

58 percent of likely Iowa caucus-goers and 48 percent of New Hampshire primary voters said that they would be more interested in hearing a candidate's position on reducing hunger and poverty in the United States than on fighting terrorism.

Respondents were asked which of the Democrat candidates for President of the United States would be most effective in reducing hunger in the United States and throughout the world. Likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa rank Dean and Gephardt at the top with 15.5 percent and13.5 percent respectively. They are followed by Kerry (9.3 percent), Edwards (4.5 percent), Lieberman (4 percent), Kucinich (2.5 percent) and Clark (2.5 percent). Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire rank Dean at the top with 22.5 percent. Kerry is next with 11.8 percent. They are followed by Gephardt (5.2 percent), Lieberman (6 percent), Clark (3.8 percent), Edwards (2.8 percent) Kucinich (2 percent) and Mosely Braun (2 percent).

A large percentage of respondents (38 percent Iowa and 36.8 percent New Hampshire) did not express a preference, suggesting that they may be undecided. This further supports the conclusion that voters want to hear more from candidates and will reward those who offer new ideas for fighting hunger.

Likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa rank Dean as their top candidate for President of the United States (23 percent). He is followed closely by Gephardt (20 percent), Kerry (17 percent), Clark (7 percent), Edwards (6 percent), Lieberman (3 percent), and Kucinich (2 percent). Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire rank Dean at the top with 33 percent and Kerry next with 18 percent. They are followed by Clark (9 percent), Lieberman (6 percent), Edwards (4 percent), Gephardt (3 percent), and Sharpton and Kucinich each with 1 percent.

The Alliance to End Hunger survey was sponsored by Alliance member, Sodexho USA and conducted by Tom Freedman, Bill Knapp and Jim McLaughlin. Jim McLaughlin is a leading Republican pollster who works extensively with congressional Republicans including the NRCC. Bill Knapp and Tom Freedman work with leading Democrats and worked against Mr.McLaughlin in the 1996 Presidential campaign. Mr. Knapp has served in senior roles in a variety of campaigns including the 1996 presidential race and as a director of advertising for the 2000 Gore/Lieberman campaign team.

In commenting on the report, Jim McLaughlin who does polling for Republicans nationwide, recognizes the importance of the hunger issue. As he puts it, “The problem of hunger and poverty is a sleeper issue that presents a winning opportunity for candidates.”

Tom Freedman, a former Senior Advisor to President Clinton says hunger resonates with Democrats who see hunger in our country and too few solutions being articulated by presidential candidates. “The poll shows beyond doubt that hunger makes a compelling issue. Democratic voters will reward candidates who propose new ideas for making anti-hunger programs more effective and more available," remarked Freedman.

Mr. Knapp said the data “offers a clear advantage for candidates who are prepared to lead on the hunger issue. Voters want to hear about comprehensive solutions to hunger that include church, community and business groups in partnership with government at all levels.”

View the charts in PowerPoint

Download the poll in PDF format

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