U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley speaking at the Iowa Republican Party's 2015 Lincoln Dinner. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley speaking at the Iowa Republican Party’s 2015 Lincoln Dinner.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Simpson College and RABA Research released their poll of Iowa’s U.S. Senate Race that shows U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) with a 13 point lead over former Lt. Governor Patty Judge.  Grassley leads Judge 50 percent to 37 percent in a poll that was conducted on September 6-8.

The race looks closer than Grassley’s 2010 race against Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin whom he beat 64.35% to 33.30%. Polling in September of 2010 was varied. The Des Moines Register’s poll that month showed Grassley with a 31 point lead. Rasmussen’s poll taken after the Register’s September poll showed a closer race with Grassley leading Conlin by 18 points.

This new poll actually shows an improvement for Grassley who, according to Real Clear Politics, has an 8.6 point average lead over Judge. This poll represents Grassley’s widest lead to date in general election polling. In August Suffolk University showed Grassley with a 10 point lead. Quinnipiac’s August poll showed Grassley with a 9 point lead. The CBS/YouGov poll gave Grassley just a 7 point lead.

In this new poll from Simpson College and RABA Research Grassley is outpolling Donald Trump in every category. Grassley leads Judge by 21 points among men, he leads by 8 points among women. 90 percent of Republicans support Grassley while only 73 percent of Democrats back Judge. Grassley is pulling more Democrats away from Judge than Judge is pulling Republicans 11 percent to 5 percent. Grassley leads among independent/3rd party voters 49 percent to 33 percent. He leads Judge among those with a college education and without. Unsurprisingly he leads Judge among evangelicals by 46 points.

Other than Democrats the only group Judge leads is among non-evangelicals and that is just an 8 point lead.

Dr. Kedron Bardwell believe Judge has some room for growth and the race may tighten because of those Democrat that are undecided still.

“If Patty Judge can consolidate her party support in the coming weeks, this race will tighten,” Bardwell, chair of Simpson College’s political science department, said. “But knocking off any long-time incumbent senator is a difficult task.”

It certainly is a difficult task. She would need not only to tighten her own base of support, but also she would need to win over the independent vote. I believe the primary reason this poll shows a wider spread between the candidates than earlier polls is because pollsters located outside of Iowa historically under poll independent voters which comprise the largest group in Iowa’s electorate.

Grassley has a strong lead among independents which I believe will expand as election day gets closer.

Also it’s interesting to note that Judge under performs Hillary Clinton among women by five points in the four-way presidential poll conducted by Simpson College and RABA Research. She only polls one point in front of Clinton 33 percent to 32 percent among independents in the 4-way poll. Clinton’s polling improves to 35% in a two-way poll which indicates she’s underperforming among independents as well. She is even out polled by Hillary Clinton with college graduates and evangelicals in both the 2-way and 4-way presidential polls.

This does not bode well for Judge. In a presidential race where the candidate likely to win the state will do so because they are the least unpopular it’s important for down ballot candidates to poll better than the top of their ticket. Grassley is doing that, Judge is not.

The Simpson/RABA poll was conducted Sept. 6-8 among a random sample of 1,054 voters on landline and cellular phones, with supplemental cell phone-only households surveyed online. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 points.

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