I would be remiss to put too much stock in one poll, but it does appear that State Senator Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak) has positive momentum going towards Election Day on Tuesday. The Des Moines Register’s last Iowa Poll of the state’s U.S. Senate race shows Ernst up by seven points – 51% to 44% over her Democratic opponent Congressman Bruce Braley. This poll is the widest lead she has had out of any poll. The last Iowa Poll conducted had Ernst up by six points – 44% to 38%. A joint Des Moines Register/Bloomberg poll had Ernst up by 1 point.
701 likely voters were polled 10/28 to 10/31. The poll conducted by Seltzer & Company has a +/- 3.7% margin of error.
I am cautiously optimistic because the previous five polls show a much, much tighter race. Fox News and Rasmussen put Ernst up by 1 point. A CNN/Opinion Research poll had her leading Braley by 2 points. A YouGov poll had Braley leading by 1 point, and a Reuters/Ipsos poll had the race tied.
Digging deeper into the Des Moines Register’s Iowa poll crosstabs we see…
- Braley leads among women 51% to 44%. Ernst leads by a wider margin among men 58% to 36%.
- Ernst has a 12 point lead among independent voters 51% to 39%.
- Those polled believe that Ernst better reflects Iowa Values than Braley 51% to 37%. Ernst was also perceived as more “down to earth” than Braley – 49% to 33%.
- Those polled also believe that Ernst cares more about people like them than Braley – 47% to 39%.
- Voters perceived Braley to be more negative with his ads 44% to 32% on the flip side Ernst was seen as more civil 45% to 37%.
- On issues such as ISIS, Ebola, the national debt, Social Security and Medicaid, and Russia those polled believe Ernst was better equipped to deal with those issues than Braley.
- It appears that Braley’s comments about Senator Grassley not being qualified to chair the judiciary committee because he’s “just a farmer” has hurt Braley. 45% of those polled believe that was his worst mistake.
Ernst has been able to provide a contrast between herself and Braley as a result of Braley’s gaffee. She’s a farm girl, Braley’s a trial lawyer. Ernst embraces Iowa values, Braley embraces DC values.
J. Ann Selzer whose firm conducted the poll told the Des Moines Register that “this race looks like it is decided.” I’m not sure I’d go that far especially in light of other recent polls, but it does seem like the undecided vote is starting to break to Ernst with two days before election day. She’s certainly in good shape heading into Tuesday for the only poll that counts.
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