Welcome to Iowa Public Television! If you are seeing this message, you are using a browser that does not support web standards. This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device. Read more on our technical tips page.

Iowa Public Television


News Analysis: Oct. 23, 2008

posted on October 27, 2008 at 2:02 PM

Paul Yeager: David, let's talk about what just happened here on this network, the discussion between Senator Harkin and Christopher Reed.  It was a discussion Senator Harkin said early on, he said, I didn't know I was going to be on the defense the entire time.  But it seemed to be what Christopher Reed was saying was some very similar themes that we're hearing from republican candidates.  Is that what you're hearing?

David Pitt: Yeah, we've seen it I guess at the top of the ticket with the McCain-Palin race in which Sarah Palin has tossed out the idea of being un-American if you don't feel a certain way or if you don't align with our way of thinking and that's happening in a couple of congressional races we've seen across the country and there's been a lot of talk about that in the last couple of days and we saw a little bit of that today.  I guess one has to think that we're obviously getting down to the last few weeks of the campaign and quite frequently as we've seen in past elections, most recent elections the campaign goes negative if you're behind, you know, if you're looking to try to catch up that's one of the strategies I guess they can use to do that.

Paul Yeager: And sometimes they're looking at polls and the polling in this race still puts Senator Harkin in the lead but there's other polls out there.  Let's talk about some of those tightening polls and actually some differential between polls.  What is going on there?

David Pitt: The AP had a poll yesterday in the presidential race which indicated a much, much tighter race nationally than many other polls have shown recently.  Some believe that could be attributed to the fact that after the last debate there seemed to have been a tightening of the race.  Some attribute it to the fact that republicans who have been kind of saying they are undecided are basically going into the fold and saying, okay, I'm going to vote for McCain, he might not have been my favorite republican to be at the top of the ticket but, you know, we're getting down to the nitty gritty and I have to decide so I'm a republican, I'm going to vote republican.  So, that is what some people are saying they can attribute that tightening of the race.  But others are surprised by the fact that it's basically just a neck and neck race now between Obama and McCain according to that poll.

Paul Yeager: One other issue, we talk about the economy, that came up in the debate, comes up in all of the campaigns.  Specifically a Wall Street Journal article on Wednesday referred to the farm economy possibly hitting its peak and it's now on the way down.  Let's explain that a little bit.

David Pitt: Yeah, the AP has done a story too and a lot of people are writing about this now because it's really becoming kind of a focus for farmers.  We're about to see a harvest that is going to be a good harvest again and I think corn is going to be like the second to largest harvest and soybeans something like the fourth largest.  But what we've seen recently the biggest impact is the corn prices and soybean prices have fallen, corn prices have fallen 50% since the summer, soybean prices have gone to something like $16 in summertime to $9 now so obviously the farmers are going to have this bountiful harvest but they're not going to be bringing in the kind of money that they've been used to and had hoped to bring in.  But at the same time prices for things like fertilizer and seed and the rental on the land if they rent some of the land where they farm is going up still.  We're seeing nitrogen fertilizer up 40% to 50%, something like that.  So, it doesn't take a real economist to figure out that your input the cost that you're paying is going up and it's going to put you upside down.  I mean, farmers I think still are in pretty good shape as far as their balance sheets.  They have been having a couple of pretty good years here.  But it's not good when you see those kinds of trends happening and I think there is a concern about that.

Paul Yeager: And especially in the state of Iowa where a lot of the economy in rural areas is driven by farming still and the farming business.  In fact, tonight we're going to talk about Dubuque, Davenport and Waterloo, all driven by John Deere.  Do we have any ideas about companies based in the state how they are doing and how they are faring?

David Pitt: Well, some of the agricultural companies have taken a pretty good hit in recent months to their stock.  So, I think it very likely could have a residual impact.  Obviously if farmers aren't making the money they're probably not going to go out and buy a new combine, they're not going to invest as much money back in to the operation as they might have otherwise.  So, there could definitely be an effect for companies that are very, very narrowly tied to agriculture.

Paul Yeager: Quickly, David, in the final forty seconds I understand one of your counterparts did a story, a sit-down interview with Governor Chet Culver.  What were some of the things Mike Glover talked about?

David Pitt: Well, Governor Culver has been working on part of some democrats to try to make sure that they get a good margin in the statehouse when they come back.  The democrats are holding a narrow margin I think in the house, a little bit better lead in the senate and I think they want to make sure that they maintain those margins and the Governor is kind of reaching out to democrats.  They had kind of a rough session this last session and there was a little bit of I don't know if you'd say animosity but some difficulties there between the Governor and his own party so he's trying to mend that a bit.

Paul Yeager: Trying to make good will before they move forward in the next session.  David Pitt of the Associated Press, thank you as always for stopping by.


Tags: Iowa news


blog comments powered by Disqus

Comment Policy

Iowa Public Television encourages conversation and debate around issues, events and ideas related to program topics.

  • The editorial staff of Iowa Public Television reserves the right to take down comments it deems inappropriate.
  • Profanity, personal attacks, off-topic posts, advertisements and spam will not be tolerated.

Find out more about IPTV.org's privacy policy and terms of use.