A new poll released six days before Election Day shows Congressman Rod Blum (R-Iowa) leading his Democratic challenger Monica Vernon 52 percent to 41 percent in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District race.

The poll was conducted between October 29-31 by the polling company, inc./Woman Trend on behalf of Blum’s campaign with a sample size of 400. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent. The sample was representative of the district with 27 percent of the respondents being registered Republicans, 33 percent are registered Democrats and 40 percent are registered independents. 48 percent of the respondents were men with 52 percent being women.

49 percent of those responding said they approved of the job that Blum is doing in his first term in Congress. Only 33 percent disapproved of his job performance. Blum also enjoys a stronger favorability rating than Vernon. 47 percent have favorable opinion of Blum with 33 percent having an unfavorable view. In contrast Vernon had a favorability rating of 33 percent with 37 percent having an unfavorable opinion of her.

“This poll demonstrates that Eastern Iowans are responding to Congressman Blum’s work to clean up Congress and reignite the economy, while rejecting Monica Vernon’s false and misleading Washington-style campaign,” said Blum spokesman Daniel Sunne. “Last week’s debate made it clear that Congressman Blum is the only candidate in this race with a firm grasp of federal issues, and the First District is poised to send him back to Washington to continue working hard on behalf of Eastern Iowans.”

Unfortunately there has only been one independent poll taken in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District race, and that was back in September and Blum led by 7 points. Blum being reelected would not surprise me. Iowans tend to reelect incumbents, but I’m not so convinced he leads by 11 points.

With the Iowa Congressional District race, as with any race, turnout will be key. Blum needs to have a good turnout from Republicans and independents to overcome the advantage Democrats have with voter registrations. While independents have a voter registration edge I’m not certain that they will turnout to the point where there will 7 percent higher turnout than Democrats and 13 percent higher turnout than Republicans especially in a presidential election year.

If voter turnout is depressed that will likely help Blum. If turnout is high, especially among Democrats, then Blum will be in trouble. The problem for anyone doing polling is that 2016 is so unusual with two wildly unpopular presidential candidates. With early voting, as of November 1st, 65,307 registered Democrats have requested an absentee ballot with 52,111 being sent in. They have a clear early voting advantage. Republicans in the district have requested 44,173 ballots with 35,119 being sent in. 37,258 independents have requested ballots with 27,614 being sent in.

Early voting doesn’t help Blum unless the independent vote is going his way enough to negate the advantage Democrats hold. He needs a big turnout on Election Day, but I just don’t know what to expect as this cycle could break previous turnout models.

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