Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com
Photo credit: Dave Davidson - Prezography.com
Photo credit: Dave Davidson – Prezography.com

A Loras College Poll released today shows that State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) is the clear frontrunner in the Iowa GOP U.S. Senate Primary leading 2nd place Mark Jacobs by 12 points.  In the previous poll completed by Loras College Ernst and Jacobs were tied.

“State Senator Ernst has captured momentum in this race and has opened up a substantial lead, according to our polling.  Whether it was from her recent notable ad campaigns and endorsements, or not, she is the clear frontrunner now,” said Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Loras College Poll, Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.

Budzisz further commented that, “The Iowa GOP Senate Primary election appears to be a two person race at this point between Ernst and the trailing Jacobs, and it is highly unlikely that we are looking at a convention to decide the nomination.”

The poll results are:

  1. Joni Ernst 30.8 percent
  2. Mark Jacobs 19.3 percent
  3. Sam Clovis 9.5 percent
  4. Matt Whitaker 7.3 percent
  5. Scott Schaben 2.3 percent

29% of Iowa Republicans surveyed said they were still undecided.  The poll was conducted on May 12-13, 2014 surveying 600 likely Iowa GOP primary voters.  The poll has a 4% margin of error.

Budzisz noted that Ernst has dramatically increased her name recognition and favorables since the last poll was taken in early April.   Then only 24% had heard of her.  This new poll 52% of Republicans recognized her name.  Her favorability has increased from 24% to 51%.  He also noted that Jacobs still has the highest name recognition with 83% having heard of him, but he also has the highest unfavorable rating with 14%.

I would be interested to see Sam Clovis’ polling after this week’s endorsements by Steve Deace, Bob Vander Plaats, and Rick Santorum.  I would assume that he would have some movement.  He still struggles with name recognition with 48% of Iowa Republicans not recognizing his name.  Looking at this objectively with the primary a little over three weeks away it doesn’t look good for the Clovis or Whitaker campaigns.  I think if this were a caucus and not a primary things might be different, but with a primary money and TV ads do matter.

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