Iowa Polls: Iowa U.S. Senate and Governor’s Races & 2016

pollThere were two polls focused on Iowa released recently.  Quinnipiac in a poll released today said that President Barack Obama receives his lowest approval rating in Iowa to date at 38%.  They also polled Iowa’s U.S. Senate race.

In the 2014 Senate race, Congressman Bruce Braley (D-IA), gets 43 percent, while Republican candidate, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker, gets 40 percent just outside the margin of error of +/- 2.4%. Braley tops other possible Republican contenders:

  • 44 – 38 percent over State Senator Joni Ernst;
  • 46 – 37 percent over businessman Mark Jacobs;
  • 44 – 36 percent over former U.S. Senate aide David Young;
  • 45 – 34 percent over radio talk show host Sam Clovis;
  • 46 – 40 percent over The FAMiLY Leader CEO Bob Vander Plaats.

Interestingly Iowans want Republicans to control the U.S. Senate by a 46% to 41% margin.  It would seem that Braley’s lead in the polls has to do more with the Republican candidates being unknown than anything positive with his campaign.  Once the Republican nominee is chosen I would suspect that this race will tighten.  It’s unfortunate that Quinnipiac didn’t poll the Republican primary race, I would have been very interested in seeing those numbers.

Quinnipiac yesterday released their poll of the Iowa Governor’s Race and it shows that Governor Terry Branstad’s reelection prospects are very good.  This was likely one of the factors in State Representative Tyler Olson’s decision to drop out of the race yesterday.

He has a 58% approval rating and 50% say he deserves to be reelected.  Both of these numbers are up from their last poll released on July 19th.

Branstad is close to 50 percent in races against three (now two) possible Democratic challengers

  • 49 – 33 percent over State Senator Jack Hatch;
  • 50 – 32 percent over State Representative Tyler Olson;
  • 49 – 31 percent over former State Representative Bob Krause.

Quinnipiac also polled some potential head-to-head matchups in Iowa looking at 2016 which I find meaningless this far out:

In an early look at the 2016 presidential race, New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie leads former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton 45 – 40 percent.

There is a large gender gap as women back Clinton 49 – 39 percent while men back Christie 51 – 30 percent. Independent voters back the Republican 44 – 35 percent.

In another matchup, Clinton gets 45 percent to 44 percent for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. She tops U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas 48 – 41 percent and leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 47 – 40 percent.

The Des Moines Register decided to do their own 2016 poll on prospective Republican candidates. Their poll is basically a popularity contest.

  • Congressman Paul Ryan had 73% favorability rating with 10% having an unfavorable view.
  • Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had a 66% favorability rating with 17% having an unfavorable view.
  • Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum has a 58% favorability rating with 21% having an unfavorable view.
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry has a 55% favorability rating with 19% having an unfavorable view.
  • Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has a 51% favorability rating with 26% having an unfavorable view.
  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has a favorability rating of 50% with 30% having an unfavorable view.
  • U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has a favorability rating of 51% with 23% having an unfavorable view.
  • Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a favorability rating of 46% with 11% having an unfavorable view.
  • U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has a favorability rating of 46% with 15% having an unfavorable view.
  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has a favorability rating of 46% with 17% having an unfavorable view.

I don’t put much stock in polls this far out, but I can see it being a guide for potential candidates as they test the waters for a run.  I don’t think it’s very useful to get a sense of how well a candidate will do in our caucus.  A couple of things to note about the poll.  This poll to be a better indicator of the 2016 Iowa Caucus really needs to drill down on likely caucus goer, not just self-identified Republicans.  Also this poll was almost complete when news of the Paul Ryan-Patti Murray budget deal came out and completed before all of the details were known.  I believe that will hurt Ryan down the road.

The primary thing that Ryan and Huckabee have going for them are name ID.

Here is the weakness of a popularity poll: name ID only gets you so far with caucus goers.  Caucus goers are the grassroots of the party and typically high-information voters (we meet to vote a specified time and location as opposed to a all-day primary).  They care where you stand on the issues.  You may be likeable, but if they disagree with positions you have or actions you’ve taken it will make an impact in a Caucus.  While the Ryan budget deal may not be a factor to an average primary voter, it is with a grassroots activist.  Huckabee will also find some pushback with his support of the Common Core State Standards.  Doing well in the Iowa Caucus is also dependent on your ability to organize.  Huckabee has a strong network in Iowa, as does Rick Santorum.  Paul Ryan does not at this point.

Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have an unfavorability rating that I would suspect will go higher if you were to poll likely Caucus goers.  The only thing that really surprises me about this poll is that Rubio and Cruz both have a bunch of Republicans where the verdict is still out.  I would have thought both men would be better known than this.  Again among likely caucus goers, Cruz’s stock will probably rise.  Marco Rubio may have a hard time overcoming his immigration stance.

But it’s still 2013 so this poll really is meaningless.

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