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Iowa Senate race remains close, slight edge to Ernst

This news story was published on September 30, 2014.
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DES MOINES – The latest poll numbers released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling (PPPbraley-ernst) shows a very tight race for U.S. Senate in Iowa between Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst.

PPP’s newest Iowa Senate poll continues to find a tight race with Joni Ernst slightly ahead of Bruce Braley. Ernst is ahead 44/42 when all the third party candidates are included, and 45/43 in a straight head to head. The 45/43 advantage for Ernst is identical to what we found on our last poll of the race in late August.

Even though the horse race numbers haven’t changed much, this is the first time we’ve found Ernst with a better net favorability rating than Braley. Ernst is at -4 with 42% of voters rating her favorably to 46% with a negative opinion, numbers that are up from a -10 spread at 36/46 in August. Meanwhile Braley’s numbers continue their slow decline- he has a -7 rating with 37% rating him favorably and 44% holding an unfavorable opinion, down from -4 at 37/41 last month. Braley’s favorability has dropped a net 17 points from where it was when we first polled a Braley/Ernst match up in July of 2013 and he was at +10 (34/24).

Both candidates have a pretty good lock on their party base. Only 5% of Democrats are crossing over to support Ernst, and just 8% of Republicans are crossing over to support Braley. The key for Ernst is with independent voters- she has a 45/35 advantage with them.

The Governor’s race in Iowa does not appear to be making any move towards being competitive. Terry Branstad leads Jack Hatch 50/36 with the full field of candidates and 52/38 in a straight head to head. Branstad is up 20 points with independents at 51/31, and is winning over 17% of the Democratic vote while losing just 6% of Republicans. The horse race numbers pretty closely track with Branstad’s approval numbers at 53/38. Feelings about Hatch are divided three ways with about a third rating him favorably, a third unfavorably, and a third having no opinion either way.

The closest race down ballot continues to be the one for Secretary of State. Republican Paul Pate leads Democrat Brad Anderson 36/33, with 25% of voters remaining undecided. Also in the range of being competitive is the race for Auditor- Republican Mary Mosiman has a 41/35 advantage over Democratic challenger Jonathan Neiderbach there.

The other three statewide contests don’t appear they’ll be competitive this year. Democrat Tom Miller leads 53/33 for reelection as Attorney General, Republican Bill Northey is up 49/29 in his bid for another term as Agriculture Commissioner, and Michael Fitzgerald has a 47/35 advantage in his run at keeping the Treasurer’s job.

Other notes from Iowa:
-Charles Grassley remains easily the state’s most popular politician with 57% of voters approving of him to only 29% who disapprove. He would lead a hypothetical reelection contest against former Governor Tom Vilsack (also generally popular with a 46/36 favorability rating) 51/42. Tom Harkin is on positive ground with a +10 net approval rating at 47/37 as well. The only states besides Iowa in recent years where we’ve found the Governor and both Senators in a state all with +10 net approval ratings are Mississippi and Wyoming.

-Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are tied in a hypothetical 2016 match up in Iowa at 43%. Clinton leads the rest of the Republican field by 4-8 points. It’s 45/41 over Chris Christie, 46/42 over Mike Huckabee, 47/42 over Rand Paul, and 47/39 over Ted Cruz. We’ll have early numbers on who Democrats and Republicans want as their 2016 nominees tomorrow.

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32 Responses to Iowa Senate race remains close, slight edge to Ernst

  1. bodacious Reply Report comment

    October 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    To find out what a politician really stands for, there should be debates once a month for the year leading up to the November elections. And the debates should have alternating moderators and sites. Each side could pick its own moderator who would have to be approved by a non-partisan board. Maybe each side could give them a list of 10 people to moderate and the board could choose 6 from that group. Or the board could pick the moderators on their own.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      October 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      @bodacious-I don’t disagree with you on this. Another thing that should happen is the out of state super pak’s(both Republican and Democrat) should not be allowed. They do nothing but distort and mislead the people on the truth. The only thing I can go by is the “ONE” add I saw from Ernst. She did not attack her opponent at all and merely said what she wanted to do to improve things for the people of Iowa. Anyone I see attacking another just tells me they have nothing else to go with.

  2. bodacious Reply Report comment

    October 8, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Not looking to start a fight here but this report came out in June.

    That said, FactChecker – one of the right wingers on this site’s favorite sites to bash – has said that most of the attack ads AGAINST Ernst are false. It is too bad that we allow our politicians this ‘right’. I believe that political advertising should be limited to a set amount – say $1000 over the course of the election.

  3. LVS Reply Report comment

    October 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    You can sure tell that Braley is scared to death of Ernst. Every 15 minutes all day long there is a attack add against her by people representing him. The ads are misleading to say the least and out right lies to say the worst. They say that she is supported by the Koch Brothers but the add is run by a out of state Democratic Super Pak. What a bunch of hypocrites.

    • maybe Reply Report comment

      October 8, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      The Kock brothers donate a lot of money to the republican party but they also donate money to the democratic party too. There are quite a few other millionaires and billionaires that donate to both parties also so the 1 word that you use is right on, hypocrite.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        October 8, 2014 at 5:19 pm

        @maybe-I have seen only one ad from Ernst and that was a positive ad where she said what she would do to improve our lives. Never once did she bad mouth her opponent. Bad mouthing is all the Democrats can do as they can’t stand on their records after what we have been through.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 7, 2014 at 8:17 am

    What kind of idiot would even think of voting for a liberal at this point!!! Haven’t we seen enough ..

    • maybe Reply Report comment

      October 7, 2014 at 9:37 am

      there are idiots out there that will vote for what they are told to vote

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 4, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Vote Ernst !!!

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 1, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Same old same old scare tactics by those liberal losers that only work on the misinformed and dependent.

  7. Tim Reply Report comment

    October 1, 2014 at 11:37 am

    bodacious Tea Party believes in following the constitution. What each congressman, Senator and President takes oath to defend and support. I guess I fail to see how following the document that has served out country very well and made us best place to live on earth, is obstructionist. If anything those in congress that do not follow the constitution are more of the obstructionist

  8. LVS Reply Report comment

    October 1, 2014 at 9:48 am

    This is really strange. All of the polls I have seen have Ernst ahead by 6 points. Braley is losing and that is the way it should be. We do not need another cooked lawyer in our government.

    • bodacious Reply Report comment

      October 1, 2014 at 10:41 am

      We probably don’t need a ‘cooked’ lawyer in Congress but we also don’t need a tea party obstructionist there either. And that is exactly what Ms Ernst will be. She will vote according to what her party wants. She will not stand up for Iowans in general, but for those who adhere to the tea party principles. We all should be wary of her.

      • maybe Reply Report comment

        October 1, 2014 at 10:51 am

        After the last 6 years the very LAST thing we need in office is another democrat. You call Joni an obstructionist yet it’s a democrat that has been obstructing the senate and not allowing ANY bills to the floor for a vote.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          October 1, 2014 at 11:17 am

          And once again fixing the system has been substituted for finger pointing. Maybe should grow up.

          • maybe

            October 1, 2014 at 11:32 am

            eyes wide open

      • maybe Reply Report comment

        October 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm

        • bodacious Reply Report comment

          October 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm

          Maybe, Just finished reading your link. Right wing all the way.

        • bodacious Reply Report comment

          October 1, 2014 at 4:20 pm

          If you want the truth, read this article.

          • maybe

            October 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

            An unbiased website has an article that you either don’t like or agree with so you say it is right wing and then you throw factcheck which is known for being totally biased at me. Nice try.

          • bodacious

            October 1, 2014 at 4:51 pm

            An unbiased website has an article that you either don’t like or agree with so you say it is left wing and then you throw factcheck which is known for being totally partisan at me. Nice try.

          • bodacious

            October 1, 2014 at 4:56 pm

            And since when is factcheck a left wing organization. One of the biggest contributors to this organization is John D Arnold, a Texas billionaire who made his money from oil and natural gas. This clip, from Forbes magazine, says it all “A Democrat who believes the government needs to be more careful about its budgets, he has backed pension reform across the country and is a strong supporter of charter schools. ” Doesn’t sound like a left wing socialist to me.

          • maybe

            October 1, 2014 at 8:14 pm

            The entire democratic party has been hijacked by the socialists party, so if they are following the democratic party/socialist party lines then they ARE far left hence NOT for America.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        October 1, 2014 at 1:15 pm

        @bodacious-You have been blowing that union train horn for so long it has scrambled your brain. Braley is a card carrying crook but he protects your crooked union so you like him.

        • bodacious Reply Report comment

          October 1, 2014 at 3:57 pm

          You’ll love Joni when she cuts your social security check.

          • maybe

            October 1, 2014 at 4:00 pm

            Apparently you didn’t read the article I posted, looks like our present government have already started cutting and confiscating our 401k’s and IRA’s.

          • bodacious

            October 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm

            And, LViciouS, I don’t belong to a union. I believe they serve a purpose in our country but I don’t always agree with how the leaders of those unions act. I certainly do know, however, that the majority of companies that have to deal with unions, have to do so because they don’t have their employee’s best interests at heart. They are concerned only with how much money they can put into their own pockets.

          • LVS

            October 1, 2014 at 5:38 pm

            @bodaicious-That is bull and you know it. That was not what was said at all. She said the truth that S.S. was in trouble and something needs to be done to fix it before it runs out of money. The Democrats have changed the wording to suit themselves. They lied AGAIN. Funny how no one ever says welfare is going to run out of money. The difference is I paid for social security and the welfare baby’s and unions didn’t. But they still want what they didn’t earn. That loud horn has scrambled your…

          • maybe

            October 4, 2014 at 9:40 am

            I’ve seen a commercial where joni says social security should be privatized, but then I say a video where she says that “I admit that social security should be privatized was an option”. The democrats edit the video to make it sound completely different. I haven’t seen the republicans do this but I am sure that they have. I personally think that is anybody does this they should be kicked out.

          • LVS

            October 4, 2014 at 11:07 am

            @maybe-does that surprise you that the Democrats lie about that? They lie about everything else so why not that. That commercial is by a outside group that is funding Braley.

          • maybe

            October 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

            No it doesn’t surprise me, the majority of democrats think that lying is a way of life and do it often when some of the republicans think the same way.