Checking the temperature of voters at the Iowa State Fair

In the “CBS This Morning” series Three Meals, we travel to different states to break bread with voters and hear what’s on their minds. This month we went to the Iowa State Fair, which attracted more than a million people to the state’s capital, Des Moines, and wrapped up over the weekend. Political correspondent Ed O’Keefe was there with more than a few presidential candidates.

Voters in this rural state will be the first to weigh in on which Democrat should take on Donald Trump. The folks we talked to said they’re weighing a number of issues, from gun control to health care, and even some supporters of the president said they were open to a change.

Breakfast: Bipartisan cooperation and immigration

A day at the fair begins early as thousands who camp out overnight go in search of breakfast. We visited Hardenbrook’s, where we met Democrats Dennis and Janet Hampton. They’ve been coming to the fair since they got married half a century ago.

“I’ve got a lot of friends who are Republicans too, and they’re saying the same thing: ‘We gotta work together now,'” Dennis said.

Both Hamptons are concerned about climate change, and they’re turned off by the president’s approach to immigration.

“We’re all immigrants, bar none,” Dennis said.

Iowa has a reputation for being nice, so when the Hamptons see the fighting in Washington, they have some home-cooked advice.

“Sit down and talk about it,” Janet said. “Communication, don’t say Republican and Democrat.”

“Keep your mouth shut more,” Dennis said.

Lunch: Trade with China, health care and gun control

Most eating at the fair happens on the go, with more than 80 food items available on a stick, but the fair is also a display of Iowa’s farming might. And one of the most popular sights is the famous butter cow attracting tens of thousands of people each day.

About 85% of Iowa’s land is used for agriculture. It exports about $10 billion, but that’s been on the decline because of the fight over trade and tariffs.

For lunch, we visited the Rib Shack, where we caught up with Georgia Gent, a farmer from Wellman, and her friend, Jane Ackerman. They were concerned with President Trump’s tweets about trade with China, which can potentially sway the market.

“Yeah, tens of thousands of dollars can be lost,” Gent said. “If you’re looking out for the country, if you’re looking out for the family farmer, we don’t need to have controversy like that.”

“And how the farmer does affects us, big time,” Ackerman said. “If they don’t have a good year, they’re not going to be buying, you know, a $10,000 mower in the spring.”

Ackerman and her family sell golf carts and lawn mowers in Eastern Iowa. And while business is good, they’re feeling the impact of the president’s policies.

“Right now we’re having huge problems getting parts to fix mowers,” Ackerman said. “We can’t fix it because we can’t get the part, and that’s hard, very hard.”

Gent, a Democrat, likes former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, but she’s keeping an open mind.

“Before the election I want to see everybody that I’m interested in,” Gent said.

Ackerman said she voted for President Trump in 2016, but doesn’t feel he has delivered.

“I am a registered Republican, but I’m just ready for change,” Ackerman said.

From one food stand, we followed Max Bertsos and his girlfriend, Brette Deaton, young Democrats who support “Medicare for All.” Right now they get their health care through their employers but would be willing to part ways with that.

“Through my job I still have a $2,000 deductible,” Deaton said. “I’d rather pay some in taxes up front and know that I can go to the doctor whenever I feel like I need to.”

Bertsos recently moved to Des Moines from Dayton, Ohio, and was shaken by the recent mass shooting there.

“That was 15 minutes away from my house,” Bertsos said.

Bertsos and Deaton even felt some nervousness coming to the fair because of the shooting.

“It’s really terrifying,” Deaton said. “I’m fairly firmly pro-gun control. At the end of the day, I think we gotta to try something though because doing nothing has just made it worse and worse and worse.”

Dinner: Rocking the boat and “telling it like it is”

Fun at the fair continues well after dark, with rides, live music and beer. We grabbed a drink at a craft beer tent where we met a voter President Trump will need to keep if he hopes to win Iowa in November: conservative Phil Stanislav.

“I want somebody who’s going to just tell it like it is, and you may not like what he tells, but he tells it the way he sees it,” Stanislav said.

And one voter the president may need to win back: soybean farmer Amy Staudt, who said she supports the administration’s tariff strategy.

“He’s rocking boats right now, Trump is, and I don’t know if it’s a bad thing, so I’m going to sit back and wait,” Staudt said.

Staudt said she’s open to voting for a Democrat even though she’s a Trump supporter.

“I want to see someone that’s going to change what happens in our farm community, our small business community, our health insurance,” Staudt said.

President Obama won this state in both 2008 and 2012 before President Trump beat Hillary Clinton there in 2016. That makes Iowa a tempting target for whoever the Democratic nominee is, and even though it only has six electoral votes, in a tight race that could tip the balance.

Also in our series, “Three Meals in a Day”:

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