steve-king1Congressman Steve King (R-IA) leads a field of potential Republican contenders for Senator Tom Harkin’s Senate seat in a poll released today.  Citizens United Political Victory Fund, the PAC of Citizens United, commissioned a poll conducted by Wenzel Strategies to see who Iowa Republicans would favor in a likely Republican primary.  They polled 800 likely primary voters on February 1-2.  This poll has a margin of error +/- 3.44%.

  1. Congressman Steve King – 34.3%
  2. Congressman Tom Latham – 18.7%
  3. Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds – 9.8%
  4. Bob Vander Plaats – 9.2%
  5. State Senator Brad Zaun – 3.2%
  6. Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey – 3.2%
  7. Secretary of State Matt Schultz – 1.4 %
  8. State Auditor David Vaudt – .5%

19.5% of Iowa Republicans surveyed said they were not sure.

These results are not surprising to me at least.  Congressman Steve King is very popular among the grassroots of the party.  King, Congressman Tom Latham, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Bob Vander Plaats being in the top four makes sense since they all have name recognition state-wide.  I would have thought Schultz would have polled higher, but he’s only two years into his first term and not as well know (as you can see in the favorability ratings down below).  Northey and Zaun polling higher makes sense as Zaun had a Congressional run and is a popular state senator.  Bill Northey is respected and well known in the agricultural community.

This is just one poll and we just don’t know how the field will shake out.  Plus, 19.5% said they were not sure so that leaves the potential race pretty fluid.

It’s fun to speculate.  I was surprised they had David Vaudt on their list.  I’ve not seen anyone include him on their list.  I didn’t include him on mine.  I’d be surprised if he ran.  Citizens United didn’t include Doug Gross and Matt Strawn who made my list, but I’d suspect they’d poll toward the bottom as well if they were included.

Looking at the toplines of the poll.

59.5% of Iowa Republicans believe Iowa is on the right track compared to 25.4% who believe it is not.  68.1% of Iowans look at the Fair Tax favorably compared to 31.9% who look at it unfavorably.  87.1% of Iowa Republicans support a Constitutional amendment requiring Congress to balance the budget, only 6.8% oppose.  Iowa Republicans have an overwhelming favorable opinion of Governor Terry Branstad – 91.1% had a favorable opinion of the Governor, only 7.7% did not.

Congressman Steve King had favorability rating of +51.3%, Congressman Tom Latham’s rating was +50.1%, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds had an approval rating of +43.4%, Bob Vander Plaats had a favorability rating of +23.7 %.

The other candidates had positive favorability ratings among Iowa Republicans who had an opinion, but Zaun, Northey and Schultz had 40% or more who did not have an opinion.  This indicates they just are not as well known statewide.  63.5% of Iowa Republicans said they had no opinion of Vaudt as well.  Obviously this is a disadvantage in terms of name recognition.  It can be turned into a positive however if a candidate can make his case.  There just isn’t much in terms of predetermined conceptions of the candidate like with Vander Plaats who has more Iowan Republicans look unfavorably at him (31.8%) than any of the other candidates.

The self identified philosophy of those polled – 42.4% identified themselves as “Tea Party Conservatives.”  41.4% identified themselves as conservatives who are not part of the Tea Party.  16.2% identified themselves as moderate.  Women slightly outnumbered men – 50.5% to 49.5%.  Geographical break downs – 35% – Central Iowa, 23% – NE Iowa, 15% – SE Iowa, 17% – N/NW Iowa, and 10% – W Iowa.

Age breakdown – Under 30 – 10%, 30s – 13%, 40s – 15%, 50s – 19%, 60s – 22.0% and 70+ – 21%.

This was an interesting peak into what will be a hotly contested race.

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