DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, holds a significant lead against Democratic challengers in Iowa’s upcoming U.S. Senate race according to an internal Democrat poll.

Iowa Starting Line reports that a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, a progressive polling firm, shows Ernst leading Eddie Mauro, who commissioned the poll, 58 percent to 33 percent, and Teresa Greenfield 56 percent to 34 percent.

The poll conducted in late April surveyed likely general election voters.

As with any poll, the questions and messaging matters. Elizabeth Meyer, reporting for Iowa Starting Line, wrote that the voters that pollsters gave voters surveyed “an array of messaging points on both Ernst and Mauro” that shrunk Ernst lead to five points – 49 percent to 44 percent.

The poll’s generic ballot test showed that a Republican candidate leads the Democratic candidate 45 percent to 41 percent.

Kimberly Graham, an Indianola attorney, was the first candidate to seek the Democratic nomination in the 2020 U.S. Senate race but announced after the poll was conducted so was not included.

One has to take any poll taken this early with a grain of salt, especially one conducted before any candidate declared. Regardless of the positive spin, the Mauro campaign may put on the poll; the fact is Ernst has a tremendous early advantage over both candidates with excellent approval rating. In February, Ernst’s approval rating hit a high mark at 57 percent according to a Des Moines Register poll. We can expect this race to tighten some once Democrats have a nominee.

Also, as with most internal polls (especially Democrat ones that I don’t receive emails about), we don’t have demographics, cross tabs, methodology, etc. so we don’t know how accurate it is.

At this point to find any good news in this poll for Democrats one needs to spin the results as the Mauro campaign has done. This poll does not mean the Democratic nominee can’t or won’t close the gap, but shrinking Ernst’s lead it by changing poll questions and messaging do not give us an accurate snapshot of the race.

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