The coalitions director of Donald J. Trump’s Iowa presidential campaign told Breitbart News Friday that both traditional and social media measures tell him the Hawkeye State is lining up for Trump, not for his Democratic opponent Hillary R. Clinton.
“The progress of the last month has been absolutely phenomenal,” said Jamie Johnson, who as a talk show host supported Mike Huckabee, the winner of the 2008 GOP Iowa caucus, and worked as coalitions director for Rick Santorum, quasi-winner of the 2012 caucus.
Johnson, who joined the Trump campaign July 26, said Iowa is “a yard sign state” and as he drives around the state, he sees Trump yard signs everywhere.
“Ninety of its 99 counties basically rely on yard signs, or barn signs, they are called barn signs, they are 4-by-8, they used to be plywood, but they are polythene,” he said.
Watching how many signs a campaign has up on yards and barns is the most accurate indicator of its success, he said.
“I’ve been driving around Iowa for the last month,” he said. “The only Hillary signs I see are in Des Moines. I saw one other sign in Cedar Rapids, our second largest city.”
There are Trump signs everywhere, he said.
“It’s an early indication in a very visible and tangible way that Trump is gaining a lot of traction lately,” he said.
“We cannot keep bumper stickers or yard signs in our headquarters,” he said. “The moment we get them in the door from New York, they are gone within just a couple of days.”
Johnson said there was the same hunger for Trump swag at the just completed annual Farm Progress Show.
Iowa farmers are not usually very excited, but they get very excited about everything with Trump’s name on it, he said.
Most Americans think of Iowa as a conservative state, but it does have a long legacy of Democratic and even liberal politics. This was what Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Ill.) was plugging into in 2008 and then again as president in 2012.
Johnson said something happened in the winter of 2007, as Iowa families prepared for Thanksgiving and Christmas, that opened their hearts to Obama. “Faith and family, hearth and home matter in Iowa and for Democrats, Obama connected with those values.”
In the beginning, there were only Clinton signs, but then you would see the switches taking place, he said. “If you saw a Clinton yard sign on Tuesday, by Friday there was an Obama sign to replace it and the sign had one word on it: Hope.”
The affection for Obama was real and carried over to the 2012 race–so much so that on the last night of the 2012 campaign, the president flew in to Des Moines to hold his last ever campaign rally as a candidate for president at the site of his 2007 headquarters.
“They didn’t have any time to announce that Obama was showing up and there must have been 30,000 people,” said Johnson, who hosts a talk show on WHO 1040 AM, the same station that hired a young broadcaster named Ronald W. Reagan. “It was at nine o’clock at night and it was incredible,” he said.
In 2012, Obama beat Republican W. Mitt Romney 52 percent to 46 percent to collect the state’s six electoral votes.
The reason Clinton has been unable to build on Obama’s good will in Iowa is that as a senator and even as a president, Obama ran as an outsider, the talk show host said.
Trump is the ultimate outsider and there is no way Clinton can pull off being an outsider, he added.
In addition to the yard and barn sign metrics, Johnson said he has access to the most advanced social media monitoring program, which allows him to read the pulse of the Hawkeye State by measuring the number and tone of posts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms for everyone in the state. These reports have told him that for the last month, not only are more people talking about Trump, but the talk is very positive–and it is also reflected in the calls he gets on his radio show.
“The mentions on social media are something like 7-to-1 in favor Trump over Hillary, and the negatives on Hillary are 2-to-1 and the positives on Trump are 3-to-1,” he said.
The final factor in Trump’s favor is the reelection campaign of GOP Sen. Charles E. “Chuck” Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he said.
Grassley, who was elected on the coattails of President Reagan’s 1980 landslide, is the most revered politician in the state, he said.
“He is like a god in Iowa,” he said. “His being on the ticket actually helps Donald Trump–Trump doesn’t help Grassley, Grassley helps Trump.”