Joni Ernst has had a good week, and looks to be in a strong position less than 11 days away from the Republican primary in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race. Public Policy Polling reports that she leads the field with 34%, which is consistent with a poll done by Loras College that showed her leading with 31%. Mark Jacobs follows with 18% (he had 19.3% in the Loras College Poll), and Sam Clovis, apparently receiving a bump from his endorsements the previous week, has 14%. The Loras College poll had Clovis with 9.5% prior to the major endorsements. He moved up 6 points since the last PPP poll.
Like I said last week her main advantage is name ID. PPP writes:
Ernst is doing well with every segment of the Republican electorate. She’s in the 32-37% range with moderates, conservatives, men, women, and seniors alike. One thing working to her benefit is that she’s the only candidate with over 50% name recognition among GOP voters. 58% are familiar with her compared to 49% for Jacobs, 41% for Clovis, and 27% for Whitaker.
You don’t vote for somebody you don’t know.
Ernst’s Real Clear Politics poll average is 29.2%, an almost 9 point lead over Jacobs who has 20.6%, Clovis has 10.2% and Matt Whitaker who has not seen any traction in polling is fourth with 5.4%.
PPP’s general election polling has Braley leading each potential Republican candidate by an average of 7 points, but I question its accuracy as their sample has a distinct Democratic advantage. 38% of their pool of 914 registered voters identified themselves as Democrat compared to 34% who said they were Republicans and 28% who said they were independents. According to the Iowa Secretary of State’s office in May the Republican Party of Iowa had 603,243 active voters registered, the Iowa Democratic Party had 600,745, and 707,031 were registered as no party. So it seems to be that their sample should have been weighted differently.
She has also received a big bump in fundraising. Her campaign reported this afternoon that they have raised over $410,000 between April 1 and May 14th, and has raised $1.1 million since announcing her candidacy. In a released statement, Ernst said, “I am humbled by the support of so many donors from all corners of Iowa and around the country. With continued efforts of donors and grassroots supporters alike, I am able to keep spreading my message of Iowa values, letting Iowans know that I’m the candidate that can beat Bruce Braley this fall.”
The campaign reported that they have received 3,012 total donations this reporting period from all 50 states. Since her campaign started they claim to have received donor support from all 99 counties. They also said this period 74% of her donations were $50 or less with 89% being under $200 which indicates grassroots support.
The Ernst campaign contrasts their fundraising with Mark Jacobs’ campaign spending. “Joni Ernst has made no personal loans to her campaign. This is in sharp contrast to her self-funding opponent who just this week announced that he has put another $400,000 behind his own candidacy, bringing his personal spending to roughly $2 million for the campaign, setting a record for self-funding in Iowa,” campaign spokesperson Derek Flowers said in the press release this afternoon.
Granted while political polls are not always 100% accurate, and I don’t base my personal decision on them or fundraising, at this point it looks to me like Ernst is in poll position to win the Republican nomination avoiding it being decided at convention.