With just 3 points separating them, Republican Joni Ernst, 49%, and Democrat Bruce Braley, 46%, are in a tight race for U.S. Senate in Iowa among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Four percent of likely voters are undecided, and 5% of those with a candidate preference think they might vote differently. In a previous poll earlier this month, Ernst received the support of 46% to 44% for Braley among likely voters statewide.
In the governor’s race in Iowa, Republican incumbent Terry Branstad, 59%, outdistances Democrat Jack Hatch, 36%, among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Branstad has a more than two-to-one lead over Hatch among independents likely to vote.
“The campaigns have taken a toll on both senate candidates who have unusually high negatives for non-incumbents,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The GOP is chomping at the bit over the prospect of picking up a senate seat the Democrats have held for thirty years in a state President Obama carried twice.”
Poll Points U.S. Senate:
- Among Iowa likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early, Ernst receives 49% to 46% for Braley in the race for U.S. Senate in Iowa. Four percent are undecided, and 5% may vote differently.
- Braley edges Ernst 52% to 47% among early voters. But, Ernst receives the support of 50% of likely voters yet to cast a ballot compared with 43% for Braley.
- Ernst and Braley have secured their respective party’s base. Among independents likely to vote, Ernst, 49%, leads Braley, 41%, by 8 points. Ernst had the same advantage among independents likely to vote, 8 points, earlier this month.
- Although the margin separating the candidates is little changed from a month ago, the gender gap has narrowed. Ernst’s once 18 point lead among men likely to vote has diminished to 12 points. Braley’s lead among women has decreased from 11 points to 5 points.
- 62% of likely voters with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate including early voters strongly support their choice of candidate. Five percent with a candidate preference might vote differently. 64% of Ernst’s supporters report a strong commitment to her compared with 60% of Braley’s backers who express the same level of support for him.
- 83% of likely voters with a candidate preference say they will not waver from their choice of candidate, even though there are libertarian and independent candidates on the ballot. Braley’s supporters, 9%, are more than twice as likely than Ernst’s backers, 4%, to say they might choose a different candidate.
- Among registered voters in Iowa including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early, the candidates are tied with 46% each. In early October, Braley, 45%, and Ernst, 44%, were also in a statistical dead heat.
- Likely voters divide over their impressions of Ernst. 44% are favorable, and 44% are not, unchanged from a few weeks ago.
- Braley’s favorability score is still upside down. 39% have a positive view of him, and 46% have a negative one.
- When it comes to the key issue in deciding their vote for Congress, 19% of likely voters mention breaking the partisan gridlock in Washington followed by job creation and economic growth, 17%. Social Security and Medicare receives 14% followed by health care with 12% and the deficit and government spending with 11%. Military action against ISIS and immigration each receives 6%. Four percent cite looking out for the interests of women.
Poll Points Governor:
- Looking at the governor’s race in Iowa, Branstad, 59%, outpaces Hatch, 36%, by 23 points among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early. Branstad was ahead of Hatch by a similar 22 points earlier this month.
- While Branstad, the Republican, garners 19% of Democrats likely to vote, Hatch, the Democrat, only receives 1% of Republican likely voters. Among independent voters, Branstad, 62%, has more than double the support of Hatch, 29%
- 63% of likely voters with a candidate preference including early voters, compared with 58% a few weeks ago, strongly support their choice of candidate for Iowa governor. 70% of Branstad’s supporters are firmly committed to him while only 52% of Hatch’s backers express a similar level of commitment.
- Among registered voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or have voted early, Branstad receives the support of 58% to 34% for Hatch. Branstad previously held a 23 point lead over Hatch among registered voters statewide.
- 58% of likely voters have a favorable view of Branstad, and 35% have an unfavorable opinion of him. When it comes to Hatch’s favorability, 32% of likely voters have a positive impression of him, but 38% view him negatively. Hatch is also not well-known to three in ten likely voters.
- 35% of Iowa residents, compared with 39% earlier this month, approve of the job President Barack Obama is doing in office.