Just to get you updated on the latest Iowa Poll findings.

On Thursday, The Des Moines Register declared that many Iowans lean toward “progressive.”  Ok, considering that 26% of those who said they were progressive are self-identified conservatives shows that this poll needed to define what is progressive since liberals have hijacked that word.  Of course the opposite of progressive is regressive and who would want to identify themselves as that?  The Register didn’t provide any definition.  What they asked:

In general, do you think things in the nation are headed in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track? In politics as of today, do you consider yourself a Republican, Democrat, or independent? Do you consider yourself conservative, moderate, or liberal? Regardless of any party affiliation, do you consider yourself a progressive?

What is strange is that not even a majority considered themselves to be “progressive,” one pollster offered her opinion of what it means:

Pollster Ann Selzer said party identification is on the wane, and the term progressive is a synonym for an engaged, independent voter searching for a political home.

I agree that party affiliation is on the wane, but to say progressive is a synonym of an engaged, independent voter is a reach.  I’ve never heard or read anyone conservative, independent or liberal use the term that way.

Basically it is a worthless question.

57% of Iowans think that Iowa is headed in the wrong direction however.  That is worth noting especially in light of “progressive” social and fiscal policies the last two years.

Governor Culver is in trouble, of course this is nothing new as The Iowa Republican released a poll saying the same thing, finding his ratings were worse than the last time TIR polled this and found that he would lose to a generic Republican ballot.

In the 2010 TIR/Concordia Group poll, we decided to test the generic gubernatorial ballot. The generic ballot provides us the percentage of voters who say they intend to vote for either the Republican or the Democratic candidate for governor. Generic ballots typically present an accurate picture of the current political environment. For example, in 1994, generic ballots showed Congressional Republicans being supported by a majority of Americans, indicating that Republican would make major gains, which they ultimately did.

In the generic gubernatorial ballot, 43% of those surveyed indicated that they would vote for the Republican candidate, while only 27% would vote for the Democrat. Nine percent said neither, 20% were undecided, and one percent refused to answer.

The Register’s Iowa Poll confirms the TIR poll regarding his vulnerability:

Fewer than 40 percent of Iowans now approve of the job Gov. Chet Culver is doing, according to the latest Iowa Poll, a perilous new low nine months before voters decide whether to retain him.

The Democrat’s new rating, 36 percent, is as low as any Iowa governor’s in more than 40 years and comes as he, like governors around the country, grapples with a daunting state revenue gap and stubborn unemployment.

Culver also faces trouble within his key constituencies. Support among labor union households has eroded sharply, and confidence among Iowa Democrats has slid somewhat.

Former Governor Terry Branstad leads Governor Chet Culver by 20 points (53% to 33%) while Culver is within the margin of error with the other candidates – Bob Vander Plaats (trailing 43% to 40%), Chris Rants (leading 41% to 37%), and Rod Roberts (leading 41% to 36% – just outside margin of error +/- 4.3%).  One poll that they should have done, but haven’t is a Republican primary poll.  Strange they didn’t do that, but asked the ridiculous would you consider yourself to be a progressive question.

Today the Register releases a poll that claims a majority wants the U.S. Senate to dump the filibuster with 53% saying to nix it.  Right now the filibuster requires 60 votes to cut off debate.  Opponents of Senate measures have to survive a cloture vote which requires 60 votes.

It would be a mistake to discard this, as Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) is proposing now that they don’t have the votes for cloture on health care.  Right now existing rules require some form of bipartisanship.  Don’t we want this with important legislation like health care reform?  It’s funny that we didn’t see Senator Harkin pining to get rid of the filibuster when the Republicans were in the majority.  This is a good rule and should be left alone.  If it is a good piece of legislation there shouldn’t be a problem getting 60 votes.  I am surprised that 53% of Iowans don’t get that.

The other poll released today, shows that a majority of Iowans are willing to merge services (76%) and the sales tax (51%).  I scratch my head over the sales tax, but I think the primary thing is that people don’t want to see more job cuts with our state already experiencing an already high unemployment rate.  I also think that the sales tax is more palatable than an income tax.  However merging services would require layoffs, but those would be targeted rather than an across the board cut (which I am not  in agreement with either).

Another thing that surprises me is how many thing the size of our state government is just right – 52%.  Of course comparing to other states Iowa’s probably isn’t as big.  39% percent think it’s too large with 3% being completely disjointed who think it is too small.  People do want efficiency, but that requires a reduction in government.

I think one thing that is clear, the overwhelming majority do not want to see an expansion and spending that comes with it.

6 comments
  1. Efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in government – although it could result in that. There are many processes that have backlogs, wait times, etc. Making efficiency improvements means you are better able to handle the work load you currently have, or are able to take on more with increasing demand of some services.

    I am with you about progressive – it is such a subjective term.

    1. @Scott, You are right, efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in government. However when coupled with budget cuts it likely does to a point.

      At least that is what is being looked at with the Government Reorganization bill. Any thoughts on that?

      1. @Shane Vander Hart, Moving boxes around doesn’t necessarily result in big savings – and could diminish the quality of services being delivered. Merging agencies brings a lot of uncertainty because the culture is shook up. Usually the biggest improvements in productivity and efficiency come from the bottom up.

  2. I saw that about the progressive survey and thought the same thing. So many of these surveys and quick polls are worthless because they do not define what is being asked. It doesn’t stop anyone from getting excited about reading into the poll results whatever it is they wanted to hear in the first place, though.

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