Democratic Congressman Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst are tied in their bid to win the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Senator Tom Harkin. About one in seven voters are undecided in this contest. Not surprisingly, there is a strong partisan divide. Braley overwhelmingly carries Democrats, and Ernst distances her opponent among Republicans by a similar margin. Independent voters split between the two candidates. A gender gap also keeps this a close matchup. Braley is ahead among women, and Ernst leads among men. A notable proportion of Iowans have yet to form an opinion about each of these candidates. Both, Braley and Ernst, have similar favorability ratings statewide. Incumbent Governor Terry Branstad has a double-digit lead over his competitor, State Senator Jack Hatch. A strong majority of Iowans approve of the job Governor Branstad is doing in office, and he is well liked in the state. Half of Iowans are not familiar enough with Democratic challenger, Jack Hatch to offer an opinion of him. A majority of Iowa residents disapprove of President Obama’s job performance.
“The contest to replace five-term Senator Tom Harkin is neck and neck,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Iowa, right now, represents a chance for the GOP to pick up a Democratic seat in their quest to gain the majority in the U.S. Senate.”
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