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August 20th, 2012

Farewell to the 2012 Iowa State Fair

Every year at the Iowa State Fair, WHO TV Channel 13 conducts a “Cast Your Kernel” poll. This year the poll featured the contest between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Obama.

The poll, which was conducted during the 11 days of the Iowa State Fair, is far from being scientific, but it should not be totally discounted either. More than 72,000 votes we cast, four of them by yours truly, and Mitt Romney easily defeated President Obama by ten percentage points. Romney garnered 55 percent of the vote with 39,714 votes, while Obama only got 45 percent with 32,502.

I offer up the following thoughts.

1. Participation in the Cast Your Kernel poll has skyrocketed. In 2008, the total number of kernels cast was 48,865. Obama defeated John McCain that year by a narrow margin, 50.92 percent to 49.08 percent.

2. President Obama attended the fair, while Mitt Romney did not. That said, Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan, stopped by the fair on the same day that Obama was there. Still, one would think that a visit by the President might impact voting.

3. When you walk around the fair, thoughts of Mitt Romney don’t flash in your head. I can’t envision Mitt at a tractor pull, strolling through the livestock barns, or eating a giant smoked turkey leg. While the fair is as diverse as the state itself, it is safe to say that it’s not a stereotypical Romney crowd. Still, Romney was more popular at the Cast Your Kernel booth than our beer-drinking president was. While it is true that a lot of rural folks attend the fair, and they are more likely to be Republican voters, it is obvious that the love that Iowans once held for Obama has faded.

4. Speaking of beer, five days after President Obama caused law enforcement to surround the Bud tent so that he could conduct an “impromptu” beer summit, people were still talking about it, and not the way that the President’s campaign team would have hoped. The President’s stop at the fair should have created a lot of positive buzz, but instead, he’s the butt of a lot of jokes. One can conclude that while it was popular to support Obama in 2008, it is now popular to oppose him.

Other State Fair Nonsense

1. Apparel sales for Iowa whisky maker Templeton Rye must be strong. On the three days that I attended the fair, I saw a number of people sporting their merchandise. Good for them.

2. I love the Iowa State Fair, but the number of motorized vehicles on the fair grounds made it feel like I was hanging out on I-35. The cops have golf carts, the medical staff have golf carts, $pecial people have golf carts, vendors have golf carts, and people who pick up trash have vehicles, too. Add to that the big tractor and wagon carting people from one end of the fair grounds to another, and it’s getting dangerous out there. Allowing people to rent personal scooters has also contributed to the problem. I would hope that only those who truly need a motorized scooter are able to rent them.

It’s gotten so bad that I think they need to create a motorized vehicle lane. It’s hard enough getting around the fair when people have their hands full of food and beverage and walk aimlessly, but add Gators, golf carts, and scooters to the mix, and it’s an accident waiting to happen.

3. If the motorized vehicles were not bad enough, it seems like every family now owns a two-seat stroller. The funny thing is that more often than not the strollers are empty.

Some Fair Favorites

Cheesy Corn Brats
Animal Learning Center
Beef Quarters
Butter Cow
Pork Tent
Horse Barn
Avenue of Breeds
The Chocolate Moose
That Huge Elk
Nigerian Dwarf Goats…

I better quit on a positive note.

Photos by me 🙂


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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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