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Poll: Iowa Senate race is “snout to snout”

braley-ernstDES MOINES – The Iowa U.S. Senate race is going down to the wire, with Republican State Sen. Joni Ernst at 48 percent among likely voters and U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democrat, at 46 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Four percent remain undecided.

This compares to results of an October 15 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN- uh-pe-ack) University, showing Sen. Ernst at 47 percent and Rep. Braley at 45 percent.

Today’s results show independent voters giving Ernst 47 percent to Braley’s 41 percent. Republicans back Ernst 91 – 6 percent. Democrats go to Braley 93 – 4 percent.

In the reverse gender gap that marks this race, women back the Democratic man 53 – 40 percent, while men back the Republican woman 55 – 38 percent.

Braley leads 58 – 37 percent among those who already have voted.

With 12 days until Election Day, 93 percent of Iowa likely voters who name a Senate candidate say their mind is made up, while 7 percent say they might change their mind.

“The race to succeed U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin in Iowa could be headed for a photo finish, with State Sen. Joni Ernst on the plus side of a too-close-to-call matchup with U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

“Throughout the campaign, Sen. Ernst has had an edge on likability. If she makes it across the finish line first that may be the key. Her campaign theme that she is the ‘farm girl next door’ who made good has taken her from unknown state legislator to a serious shot at the United States Senate.”

“Rep. Braley has been selling his Washington experience. We’ll see on November 4 whether that experience is such a valuable commodity with voters,” Brown added.

By a 48 – 42 percent margin, Iowa likely voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst. Braley gets a split 43 – 43 percent likability score.

From October 15 – 21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 964 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

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