Loras College released a poll this week that shows U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) leads his Democratic challenger former Lt. Governor Patty Judge 54 percent to 37 percent.
“Grassley, despite some concerns in the summer about the possible impact of Trump at the top of the ticket, and issues such as the refusal to hold confirmation hearings for Judge Merrick Garland, has opened a significant lead,”Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and director of the Loras College Poll said. “Democrats may have to look elsewhere to pick up one of the seats they need to take the Senate.”
The statewide live-caller survey of 491 likely voters was conducted between Sept. 20-22, and the margin of error is +/-4.4 percent. This is Grassley’s largest lead to date, a Simpson College/RABA Research poll earlier this month showed Grassley with a 13 point lead.
More Republicans were polled (35 percent) than Democrats (33.2 percent) which is reflective of voter registration in Iowa. Republicans have 30,000 plus voter registration edge over Democrats in the state. Only 28.5 percent of those polled identified as No Party/Independent. They were under polled considering they are the largest voter registration block with over 20,000 more registered voters than Republicans.
The poll did not include cross-tab information for independent voters in the U.S. Senate race. The Simpson/RABA Research poll showed a 16 percent advantage for Grassley among independents. It’s likely this race is even further apart than what the Loras College poll indicates.
Something else to note in this poll is that only 7.3 percent of those polled identified themselves as evangelical which is considerably less than expected. Another item I found interesting in this poll is that 57.2% of Iowans believe the country is heading the wrong direction. Among those voters 79 percent back Grassley while only 13.5 percent back Judge.
Grassley currently holds a 12.6 percent lead with Real Clear Politics average of polls.