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Iowa labor group says swing voters are up for grabs in eastern Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS – Today, Working America released their most recent “Front Porch Focus Group” report based on 335 in-person conversations with swing and Democratic-base voters from working-class neighborhoods in eastern Iowa. Going door to door, Working America engaged voters in conversations about what issues matter most to them, how they feel about the economy, recent changes to the state’s health care system and their perceptions of state officials and political parties.

Among the topline findings from the report:

  • Iowan’s economic confidence is lower than in other battleground states. In Pennsylvania and Minnesota, roughly two-thirds of voters expressed confidence in their economic future. In Iowa, only 43 percent of voters expressed confidence in their economic future.
  • Swing voters who supported Donald Trump in 2016 are moving away from him at a faster rate than in other battleground states. More than 2 out of 5 Trump voters we spoke with either disapproved of his job performance (14 percent) or were undecided (28 percent). Compared to a comparable working-class district, PA CD-18, there are substantially higher levels of voters who are undecided about or disapprove of the job President Trump has done in office.
  • Fed up with the status quo, moderate Iowans are tuned out of state politics, revealing weak support for Gov. Kim Reynolds and Rep. Rod Blum. When we asked about voters’ opinions of Reynolds and Blum, solid majorities said they had no opinion of either (65 percent and 58 percent, respectively). Awareness of Blum is especially low — he and Reynolds have similar levels of support despite the fact that Reynolds has only been in office since May 2017. Similarly, well over half of voters had no opinion about the state political parties.
  • State budget cuts — and mental health cuts in particular — struck a nerve regardless of voters’ partisan leanings. When we asked about Reynolds’ plan to work with conservatives in the Legislature to cut spending and give tax breaks to corporations, over 80 percent of voters disapproved. Even more voters disapproved of mental hospital closures under former Gov. Terry Branstad. Whether it’s education or health care, Iowans are opposed to reducing spending on public services.
  • Of the people we spoke with, 71 percent said they believed no politician was fighting for them. Iowans are more likely than voters from other battleground states to say that there isn’t a politician fighting for them. This suggests a widespread disaffection with politics among voters.

“If progressives are ambitious about engaging with swing voters, they have a clear opportunity to win back lost support, especially from small towns and rural communities, and reverse the recent right-wing advances in Iowa,” said Matt Morrison, executive director of Working America.

Iowa has moved to the right in recent years. Between 2012 to 2016, Democratic vote share in Iowa dropped by 6 points in urban areas and 14 points in rural areas. The loss at the presidential level was the largest swing from Democrat to Republican of any state in the country.

Working America has been a mobilizing force in Iowa’s cities as well as smaller and more rural communities for more than a decade, with more than 24,000 members across Iowa’s 99 counties. In the latest Front Porch Focus Group report, findings suggest a path forward for progressive candidates hoping to reclaim votes and begin the process of long-term realignment in the state.

“This report reinforces that Iowans in small, rural communities need to have their voices heard. Working America’s model of meeting people where they are, listening to their concerns and converting them into energized voters is just what’s needed in Iowa,” said former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a member of the Working America Education Fund board.

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Yes there is room for improvement in Mitchell County – only 97.5 % of public servants in that worthless county voted for the Demorat Hillary — Go GO GO !

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