Two Iowa polls: so alike, yet so different

KCCI-TV in Des Moines released a new Iowa poll conducted by Research 2000 yesterday. I can’t find details about the sample or when it was in the field, but topline results were in this report. The numbers for the Republican gubernatorial primary and the Democratic U.S. Senate primary were similar to those found in a Public Policy Polling survey released on Tuesday. KCCI’s poll found that Terry Branstad has 44 percent support in the GOP primary, Bob Vander Plaats has 29 percent and Rod Roberts has 12 percent, with 15 percent undecided. Public Policy Polling had Branstad with 46 percent, Vander Plaats with 31 percent and Roberts with 13 percent.

In the Senate primary, KCCI’s poll shows Roxanne Conlin way ahead with 48 percent, Bob Krause with 13 percent, Tom Fiegen with 12 percent and 27 percent undecided. PPP had Conlin with 48 percent support among Democratic primary voters, to 13 percent for Krause and 8 percent for Fiegen.

In the general election matchup for governor, KCCI’s new poll has Branstad leading Governor Chet Culver, 51 percent to 42 percent, with 7 percent undecided. Those aren’t good numbers for Culver, but they’re slightly better than PPP’s poll showing Branstad ahead 52-37.

When the pollsters tested Conlin against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, the results were shockingly different. KCCI’s new poll by Research 2000 has Grassley at 50 percent, Conlin at 42 percent and 8 percent undecided. Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling has Grassley leading Conlin 57-31 and concludes that Grassley is safe for re-election.

The KCCI poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. PPP’s poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percent. One of these pollsters is way off on the Senate race. I have no idea which one, and I don’t know whether it has something to do with the sample or the weighting. It’s strange for two polls taken around the same time to show similar numbers in some races but hugely different numbers in one contest. PPP found that Conlin “is an unknown to 53% of voters in the state,” which sounded like a high number to me. I haven’t seen KCCI’s numbers on Conlin’s name recognition.

I will update this post with more details about the KCCI/Research 2000 poll when those become available.

  • Roxanne

    Fifty three percent sounds fairly reasonable to me.  I was born in 1987, five years after she ran for Governor.  I’ve been following politics since 2002 and didn’t really start researching Roxanne until 2006 when I heard people mentioning her for the Governor’s race.  I had heard the name before, but for a person born in 87’ she was just a wealthy trial lawyer who gave money to Democrats in my mind.  

  • I dunno if this is it or not

    But a symptom of the PPP poll is they have only 20% of the electorate being 65+ — it was 27% in 2006, and 28% in 2002. I  am inclined to think the reality falls somewhere between PPP and Research 2000.  

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