U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, speaking to the Women’s March attendees at the Iowa State Capitol on January 18, 2019.
Photo Credit: Phil Roeder (CC-By-2.0)

DES MOINES, Iowa – A poll commissioned by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) shows that incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne trails a “named” Republican challenger in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District by six points.

Caffeinated Thoughts learned the “named” candidate is likely former Republican Congressman David Young who lost to Axne in 2018 after representing the district for two terms.

Young is one of two declared candidates vying for the Republican nomination, the other is political newcomer Bill Schafer, an Army veteran who is new to the district.

The poll of 400 likely general election voters in the district found (likely) Young leading Axne 48 percent to 42 percent with 11 percent undecided.

The poll shows Axne trails by eight points with independents, by 10% with voters age 35 to 54, and by 11% with voters age 55 to 64. Young pulls 21 percent of Democratic voters as well.

Only 31 percent of voters say they are definitely voting for Axne while 40 percent of voters polled say they are definitely voting for Young.

Axne also has a favorability problem according to the poll. Overall she is underwater by 2 points with a 37 percent having a favorable opinion of Axne compared to 39 percent unfavorable opinion. Only 32 percent of independents have a favorable opinion of Axne compared to 39 percent with an unfavorable opinion. It’s worse among those who are undecided with 9 percent having a favorable opinion and 40 percent having an unfavorable opinion.

Voters polled also prefer a candidate who supports the Trump agenda over the Pelosi agenda by eight points, 48 percent to 40 percent and independent voters favor the Trump agenda by eight points, 47 percent to 39 percent.

Fifty-five percent of voters oppose impeaching President Trump, including 60 percent of independents, and 57 percent of independent women. Axne has been noncommittal on potential articles of impeachment.

Also, 55 percent have an unfavorable opinion of socialism and believe Congress should focus on policies that preserve individual liberty for everyone. Axne has been careful not to endorse the more radical proposals by the left-wing of her party.

Axne has not embraced the Green New Deal. She told the Des Moines Register in March that, “The Green New Deal provides a broad framework (to address climate change), but it doesn’t provide the practical, bipartisan solutions we need to achieve these goals. Any plan to address climate change must incorporate the needs of Iowa families who are supported by our agriculture and manufacturing industries.”

Axne also has not endorsed Medicare for All, but instead would rather shore up the Affordable Care Act while possibly adding a second option.

She also has not jumped on the “abolish ICE” bandwagon and included strengthening the border in the immigration plank on her campaign’s website’s issues page.

Regardless, Axne has a voting record that the Republican nominee can point out.

Axne voted for a pathway for citizenship for an expanded group of illegal immigrants. She has also voted to strip religious liberty protection from Iowans by voting for the Equality Act, and she also voted for a federal takeover for elections.

Axne also has not signed the discharge petition to bring up a vote on the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act in the House.

Regarding the poll, a word of caution, I do not know the margin of error, and I do not know the demographical breakdown of the poll. As a general rule, I don’t put much stock in inside polling, and it is still early. That said, Axne’s win in 2018 could be a one-off election for a district that had been trending Republican over the three previous election cycles since it was a midterm election. Time will tell.

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