Food issues have the potential to be a deciding factor in how Americans vote in the midterm elections this November. According to polling by Food Policy Action (FPA), messages about voting against politicians who want to cut food stamps for veterans, slash funding for food safety, support subsidies for corporate farms over family farms, or support eliminating food stamps for seniors and families resonated with a majority of voters. “Members of Congress are a major influence in how our food system works, for better or worse,” said Ken Cook, FPA chairman and president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group. “To date, there has been little to no transparency or accountability for these decisions.” One of the most surprising aspects of the data was that people not only cared about food policy issues, but that they were willing to vote to the issues, said Celinda Lake, president of the polling company that conducted the survey. At the end of September, 1,009 adults representative of the population demographics expected to turn out for the 2014 general election were polled about how persuasive they found four messages. When asked about voting “against politicians who want to slash funding for food inspectors and programs that identify unsafe food and protect our families,” 68 percent of participants found the message “convincing” and 41 percent found it “very convincing.” While the veteran message ranked as the top message for most demographic groups, the food safety message was the top message for women, voters younger than 30, younger women, and college-educated women. More than one in eight Democrats and one in six Independents and Republicans considered it “convincing.” Forty-nine percent of Democrats, 35 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of Independents thought it “very convincing.” Because foodborne illnesses harm and kill thousands of Americans each year, “it’s important to people that our food inspectors have the funding and the tools they need to do their jobs,” Cook said. Here’s how the question played compared to the others tested: “These messages tested off the charts at a time when voters are getting very cynical about political messages,” Lake said. “These messages explicitly connected the food policy issues for the first time to politics and voting. And voters responded with intensity and broad support.” They have the possibility to sway votes, she said, adding that, at this stage in a campaign, pollsters consider 60 percent “convincing” and 39 percent “very convincing” successful and very tempting for candidates. Food-related issues are very persuasive to voters if they can be reminded about them, Cook said, especially among swing voters and seniors who sometimes determine the outcome of an election. This survey will allow FPA and other groups working for reform to target issues that most resonate with the public.