I wanted to share the results of our reader survey looking at different midterm races and issues.  We had 345 people participate who in the first two questions identified themselves as Iowans who were likely voters on election day on November 4th.

Most of our respondents were Republican.  68.4% of those who took this survey said they were Republican.  18.6 said they were independent or 3rd party.  13% said they were registered Democrats.  63.2% of our respondents were male compared to 36.8% being female.

Our age demographics were  a little more diverse.  13% said they were between the ages of 18-25, 22.3% said they were in the 26-34 age bracket.  Our largest group was 35-44 year-olds making up 26.4% of the respondents.  18.8% said they were between the ages of 45-54.  13.6 said they were in the 55-64 age-bracket.  5.8% said they were 65-years-old or older.

Evangelicals, unsurprisingly, made up the largest group when we asked religious affiliation with 40.3% of our respondents self-identifying that way.  18.3% identified themselves as mainline Protestant, 16.8% said they were Catholic, 12.5% said they were no religious, followed by 8.1% who listed other.  Finally Orthodox Christians, Latter-Day Saints, Muslim and Jews rounded out the group with 1.4% of the respondents or less.

With political ideology 55% identified themselves as conservative (again no surprise), 16.8% said they were libertarian, 7.2% said they were liberal, and 8.7% identified themselves as moderate.

We had little racial diversity with 94.2% identifying themselves as Caucasian.  Unfortunately I didn’t ask about income level to get a feel for socio-economic levels – next time.

U.S. Senate Race


Based on the demographics it is not surprising to see State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) lead our poll 45.8% to 10.6%.  I thought Ernst would be polling higher so I looked to see what was keeping her numbers lower even though the demographics of the survey indicate she should have more support.  Among those who identified themselves as libertarian, 55% said they were voting for someone else.  Apparently there was a libertarian candidate that I was unaware of.  Among those who identified themselves as conservative just 67.4% said they would vote for Ernst.  16.9% said they would vote for someone else.  5.2% said they were undecided.

Iowa Gubernatorial Race

While this is not a scientific poll, this survey does show that Governor Branstad has a problem with his base.  At least among those who frequent this site.  Lee Hieb, the Libertarian candidate for Governor leads Branstad among Caffeinated Thoughts readers who participated in this poll.


Heib pulled in 36% of those who participated with Governor Branstad coming in 4.7 points behind.  State Senator Jack Hatch (D-Des Moines) had support from 14%.  There are twice as many undecided voters in this race compared to the U.S. Senate race.  Libertarians overwhelmingly supported Hieb with 77.4% saying they would vote for her.  This again is not surprising even though a majority of those who identify themselves as Libertarian also say they are registered Republicans (60.7%).  Among conservatives you can see Branstad has a problem as well.  Only 47.4% who identified themselves as conservative said they would vote for Branstad compared to 28.4% who said they would vote for Hieb.  Among Republicans in general it was much closer with 43.6% saying they would vote for Branstad and 38.1% saying they would vote for Hieb.  Independent/3rd Party voters in this survey largely went for Hieb – 51.6%, then Hatch – 17.2, and then Branstad – 6.2%.

Those who identified themselves as Evangelicals tilted toward Hieb with 36.7% saying they favored the libertarian candidate and 33% saying they favored Branstad.  Branstad leads among Mainline Protestants, but those surveyed were sharply divided.  33.3% said they favored Branstad, 31.7% said they favored Heib, and 28.6% said they favored Hatch.  Branstad has a strong lead among our Catholic readers – 48.2% compared to 22.4 for Hieb and 13.8% for Hatch.

Hieb leads Branstad among our male readers by almost 8 points – 40% to 32.1%.  Branstad edges out Hieb among our female readers who participated.  30% of female readers said they supported Branstad, 29% said they supported Hieb.  18.1% said they supported Hatch.  16.5% said they were undecided.

Down Ballot Races

In the Secretary of State race Republican Paul Pate leads with 33.9% ahead of the Libertarian candidate Jake Porter who has 14.5%.  Brad Anderson, the former Obama staffer who is the Democratic nominee, has 12.2% of the vote.  The significant number in this race among our readers is how many were undecided.  33.3% said they were still uncertain who they were going to vote for.

State Auditor Mary Mosiman, the Republican incumbent leads her Democratic challenger Jonathan Neiderbach 41.7 to 11.6%.  Like the Secretary of State race, this race also shows a significant number of our readers are undecided at 36.5%.  Sam Clovis has a strong lead in our State Treasurer poll.  We have the Republican challenger leading the Democrat incumbent Michael Fitzgerald among our readers by almost 42 points among our readers – 56.2% to 14.5%.

In the Secretary of Agriculture poll the Republican incumbent Bill Northey leads his Democratic challenger Sherrie Taha among our readers by just over 42 points –  52.2% to 9.9%.

Republican challenger Adam Gregg leads the Democrat incumbent Tom Miller in our Attorney General race poll by almost 25 points among our readers –  39.7% to 15.1%.  29.9% said they were undecided.

In the generic Iowa Legislature ballot Republicans lead Democrats among our readers by a little more than 44 points – 60.6% to 16.2%.  Clovis and Northey were the top two vote getters in our survey.  Taha and Neiderbach were one and two in getting the fewest votes in statewide races.

U.S. Congressional Races

Here is the break down of our respondents by Congressional Districts:

  • Iowa 1st Congressional District – 10.7%
  • Iowa 2nd Congressional District – 17.4%
  • Iowa 3rd Congressional District – 52.8%
  • Iowa 4th Congressional District – 19.1%

In the Iowa 1st Congressional District race Republican candidate Rod Blum leads Pat Murphy among our readers – 70.3 to 8.1% (obviously not even remotely representative of the district, but this where our readers stand).  In the 2nd Congressional District Race – Republican challenger Mariannette Miller-Meeks leads Democrat incumbent Congressman Dave Loebsack 35% to 21.7%.  20% said they were undecided and 20% said they were voting for someone else.

In the Iowa 3rd Congressional District Race Republican candidate David Young leads the Democrat Staci Appel 43.4% to 23%. 9.9% said they were undecided and 20.9% said they would vote for someone else.  Caffeinated Thoughts later learned there will be a Libertarian candidate in this race as well.

Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) leads Democrat challenger Jim Mower in our reader poll of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District race.  69.6% of our readers said they would vote for King.  Only 4.5% said they would vote for Mower.


Over 1/2 of our readers support a constitutional amendment defining marriage to be between a man and a woman.  50.1% said they favored such a measure.  41.4% said they opposed a marriage amendment.


Among conservatives 81% said they favored a marriage amendment compared to 11.5% who said they didn’t.  Among Libertarians (ideological position, not voter registration) were overwhelmingly against an amendment – 67.8% to 17.8% as were liberals and moderates.  Among all Republicans 66.5% favored a marriage amendment while 23.7% oppose.  Among Democrats overwhelming oppose it.  Independent/3rd Party readers oppose it 68.8% to 25%.  Evangelicals, unsurprisingly, favor a marriage amendment – 74.1% to 8.6%.  Our readers who identified themselves as Mainline Protestants oppose an amendment 57.1% to 34.9%.  Catholics readers support a marriage amendment 51.7 to 39.6%.  Non-religious voters overwhelmingly oppose a marriage amendment – 83.7% to 14%.

Our readers overwhelming support a ban on webcam abortions – 70.4% to 21.4%.  Our readers also reject a gas tax increase – 67.5% to 20.2%.  8 in 10 of our readers said they do not believe that businesses should be compelled by government to provide a service for an activity if it violates their religious conscience.  Only 13% agreed that government should be able to compel business owners to violate their religious consciences.

An overwhelming number of our readers believe that school districts should not be able to reject a family’s request to open enroll based on their socio-economic status.  Des Moines and three other school districts currently are allowed to utilize a loophole in Iowa’s open enrollment law.  80.9% said they oppose the loophole.  Under 5% say they support it.

Our readers also support a personhood law or amendment (which would protect human life from conception), but not as many that support a ban on webcam abortions.  62.6% say they favor such a measure.  Fewer readers oppose such a law than do a ban on webcam abortions however.  Just 15.3% of our readers say they would oppose a personhood law or amendment.

Almost 3 in 4 of our readers support lifting the ban on fireworks provided that counties and municipalities have the ability to enforce temporary bans in times of drought.  Our readers also favor educational savings accounts that would have state school aid follow each child to the educational setting of their parent’s choice whether it is private school, online school, tutoring, homeschooling, etc.  68.4% say they are in favor of ESAs.  17.7% oppose ESAs.

We asked if our readers had knowledge about the Common Core State Standards – a national set of English and Math standards adopted by the Iowa Board of Education in 2010.  86% of our readers had knowledge of the standards, and of those readers 82.8% said they oppose the standards with just 10.1% who said they support them.  In fact, 67.7% of those readers strongly opposed the Common Core compared to 5.7% who strongly supported the Common Core.  There is even a wider gap among readers who have school-aged children.  More than 9 out of 10 parents reject the Common Core State Standards.


In a side note our readers who said they strongly oppose Common Core favor Hieb who has actively opposed the Common Core over Branstad in Iowa’s Governor’s race by slightly more than 15 points – 45.7% to 30.3%.

Our readers overwhelmingly support voters having to show a state-issued ID before casting their ballot.  Over seven out of 10 of our readers approve such a measure.  72.6% said they favor voter ID with 22.3% who said they oppose it.

We also asked our readers whether Iowa should use the federal system for confirming judges with the Iowa Senate confirming appointments that the Governor makes to District Court, the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.  Currently the Iowa Constitution has a judicial nominating commission in place.  The governor only appoints half of the members, the Iowa Bar Association appoints the other half, and then the Chief Justice chairs the commission.  The Governor then has to choose his appointment from their recommendations (which is 2 or 3 choices depending on the position).  35.9% of our readers support a Iowa using a federal approach.  29% believe Iowa should keep their current system.  35% probably were not sure what we meant and they said they were undecided.

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