From Left: Fred Hubbell (D), Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), and Jake Porter (L)
From Left: Fred Hubbell (D), Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), and Jake Porter (L)

The Des Moines Register and Mediacom released their Iowa Poll of the Iowa Gubernatorial Race that shows a very close race between Democrat challenger Fred Hubbell and Republican Governor Kim Reynolds. 

Hubbell leads Reynolds 43 percent to 41 percent with Libertarian candidate Jake Porter trailing at seven percent. Nine percent of likely Iowa voters said they were undecided.

Seltzer and Co. polled 801 adults between September 17-20 with 555 of those surveyed identifying as likely voters. They weighted the Iowa Poll by age, sex, and congressional district. The margin of error among likely voters is +/- 4.2 percent.

Reynolds favorability rating dropped by two points since January from 49 percent to 47 percent. Her unfavorability rating increased from 38 percent in January to 46 percent now. Hubbell’s favorability rating jumped from 31 percent in December as a primary candidate to 42 percent now. His unfavorability rating also jumped in the same amount of time from 18 percent to 27 percent. 

Only seven percent are unsure about Reynolds while Hubbell is still relatively unknown among the electorate. 30 percent of likely voters said they were uncertain about how they viewed him.

69 percent of likely voters who said they would vote for Reynolds say they are sure, while 28 percent said they could still be persuaded to vote for another candidate. Among likely voters who say they will vote for Hubbell, 66 percent say they are sure while 32 percent said they could change their mind. 

Seltzer and Co. tested the opposition messaging by each campaign. Hubbell on the campaign trail and in ad campaigns has attacked Reynolds’ handling of the state budget, Medicaid privatization, and accusations whether she has established her an agenda. 

70 percent of likely voters said her handling of Medicaid privatization is a problem and 51 percent believe it is a big problem. Also, 63 percent of voters think the message that Reynolds “mismanaged the budget and short changed needed government services such as education and health care” is a problem with 51 percent feeling it is a big problem. 62 percent believe that Reynolds has not established an agenda for Iowa with 31 percent saying it is a big problem.

Reynolds in her state of the state address acknowledged problems with Medicaid: 

I still believe managed care is the right decision for Iowa, but it has become very clear that mistakes were made in how it was done. Shortly after being sworn in as Governor, I took deliberate action to make a change. I hired a new director for the Department of Human Services, who has the passion, and—most importantly—the compassion to make this work. And he has hired a new Medicaid director with the experience to get things turned around.

Fred Hubbell’s most significant problem among those surveyed is the fact he has not released his tax return. 66 percent of likely voters see that as a problem for him, and 36 percent believe it is a big problem. Republican messaging about his wealth and tenure as CEO of Younkers has made less of an impact with 49 percent who think his wealth could be a problem when understanding the needs of Iowans. Only 25 percent believe that is a big problem. Also, 51 percent of likely voters say shutting down Younkers stores “while enriching himself” is a problem, but only 22 percent feel it is a big problem. 

Republican messaging needs to change. Attacks on Hubbell’s wealth and tenure at Younkers are ineffective. They should keep focusing on his tax returns, obviously, as that seems to have traction. Also, they should address the Medicaid situation head-on. Why privatization? Show voters data what Obamacare was going to do to the state’s budget, they need to be reminded. Also, Reynolds would do well to address specific problems and how she plans to fix them.

As far as education spending, they need to keep pointing out how Iowa compares to other states, as well as, Iowa’s cost of living compared to those states. There has been a lot of misleading information out there in regards to teacher pay.

They need to keep pushing Reynolds’ story because she has a good one. Emphasize what “Keep Iowa Moving” means.

I also think pointing out Hubbell’s extreme record with Planned Parenthood is crucial messaging, but Women Speak Out PAC and The FAMiLY LEADER’s investment in the race will help as will Life Right Action’s focus on this messaging. It’s essential messaging for turning out the pro-life vote if not independent voters.

The Des Moines Register reports that Hubbell currently leads Reynolds among independents who make up the largest bloc of voters in the state 40 percent to 34 percent. 12 percent of independent voters say they support Porter with 14 percent undecided. 

The Register also states (demographical data is not available to me to verify) that Reynolds leads in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District and Iowa’s 4th Congressional District while Hubbell leads in Iowa’s 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts. Frankly, with a statewide pool of only 555 voters, individual congressional district polling can’t be taken seriously.

This poll looks better for Reynolds than the Emerson poll did. However, there were more undecided voters in that poll. 

I’m curious about demographical data. They didn’t weight it by the political party so I would like to know the party breakdown and I’m curious why they haven’t released that. Regardless, I don’t have any doubt this race is close, and according to this poll, it is within the margin of error.

There are plenty of voters up for grabs. 

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