The conservative 501(c)4 organization American Future Fund commissioned polls last week in Iowa’s first, second and third Congressional districts. Yesterday the group released partial results from the surveys, touting the supposedly low re-elect numbers for Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03).
The topline results showed Democratic incumbents leading their challengers in all three races, even among the “certain to vote” sub-sample.
This pdf contains partial results from the polls conducted by Voter/Consumer Research between August 31 and September 3. In each Congressional district, 300 respondents were surveyed.
First district summary: 39 percent said Braley deserves to be re-elected, 44 percent said give someone else a chance. The generic ballot split 43.3 percent Democrat to 42.1 percent Republican. Braley led Republican Ben Lange 50 percent to 39 percent, and by 47.1 percent to 42.7 percent among the “certain to vote” sub-sample. Lange’s name identification was low at 25 percent, but 70 percent of respondents said they had seen advertising about the alleged “Ground Zero Mosque.” The American Future Fund has been hitting Braley on that issue in the Cedar Rapids and Quad Cities markets, and Braley responded with his own tv commercial.
Second district summary: 40 percent said Loebsack deserves to be re-elected, 40 percent said give someone else a chance. The generic ballot split 42 percent Democrat to 39 percent Republican. Loebsack led Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks 47 percent to 39 percent, and by 47.7 percent to 41.0 percent among the “certain to vote” sub-sample. Miller-Meeks was also the GOP nominee in 2008, and her name identification is relatively high at 60 percent.
Third district summary: 42 percent said Boswell deserves to be re-elected, 49 percent said give someone else a chance. The generic ballot split 40 percent Republican to 39 percent Democrat. Boswell led Republican Brad Zaun 48 percent to 39 percent, and by 47.3 percent to 41.3 percent among the “certain to vote” sub-sample. Zaun’s name identification was also high at 68 percent; he is a state senator and the former major of Urbandale, a large Des Moines suburb.
Your unintentional comedy of the week is the spin the American Future Fund put on their poll in this press release:
American Future Fund: New AFF polls show Iowans reject Pelosi agenda
Voter/Consumer Research Polls show Iowans disagree with Washington liberals’ views
DES MOINES – A new poll released today by American Future Fund shows a strong disconnect between Iowans and Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda.
The poll was conducted by Voter/Consumer Research August 31 through September 3, 2010 in Iowa’s First, Second, and Third Congressional Districts. Three hundred Iowans were polled per district and the results show low re-election numbers for incumbent Democratic Congressmen.
The standout issue for the majority of Iowa voters is jobs and the economy by an overwhelming margin. Fifty-percent or more of all poll takers in each Iowa’s First, Second and Third Districts marked jobs and economy their main concern.
Only 39 percent of voters in Iowa’s First District believe Rep. Bruce Braley should be re-elected as their congressman. Things aren’t much better for Rep. Leonard Boswell in the Iowa’s Third District either, as only 42 percent of voters believe he should retain his seat. Rep. Dave Loebsack in Iowa’s Second District has only 40 percent of voters backing him in his re-election bid.
AFF Spokesperson Nick Ryan stated, “Iowa’s Democratic congressman are so closely tied with Nancy Pelosi’s liberal agenda that they have become disconnected from Iowa values. Their constituents strongly disagreed with them on issues ranging from the outrageous government spending to health care.”
Iowans also vigorously disagreed with Pelosi over the issue of the Ground Zero mosque. Just over 20 percent of Iowans in the state’s First Congressional District agree with Braley and Pelosi on that issue.
Ryan continued, “Braley, Loebsack, and Boswell are clearly out-of-touch with Iowans, these poll results confirm it. These congressman care more about being Pelosi’s liberal ally than voting for what Iowans believe in.”
What’s missing from the press release? Topline numbers showing all three allegedly “out-of-touch” Democrats leading their challengers.
I can’t evaluable Ryan’s claims about poll respondents’ views on most issues. The partial results I saw listed numbers for just one issue question: the so-called “Ground Zero mosque.”
I wouldn’t advise Iowa Democrats to start celebrating yet. We haven’t seen any public polls of these races conducted by media organizations. Neither the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee nor the Braley, Loebsack and Boswell campaigns have released any internal poll results. The Voter/Consumer Research polls have a statistical margin of error of plus or minus 3.57 percent, but that assumes they used a representative sample. If their pool of respondents was skewed, the results could be off by more than that. Anyway, approximately 1 of every 20 polls will be off by more than the margin of error, just by chance.
Taking this poll with a grain of salt, it is nonetheless encouraging to see all three Iowa Democrats ahead. The American Future Fund has every incentive to show Democrats are doomed in November. A few handicappers have been too quick to write off Boswell based on Republican polls that were conducted before a string of bad news for Zaun received broad local media coverage.
The American Future Fund will spend “six figures” against Braley in IA-01. It’s not clear yet whether the 501(c)4 group will be as engaged in the IA-02 and IA-03 races. The group’s spokesman Nick Ryan and Bruce Rastetter, thought to be a major financial backer, supported Jim Gibbons in the third district Republican primary.
I still see no sign the National Republican Congressional Committee plans to get involved in the Iowa races. House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio came to Iowa last week to raise money for the NRCC in Ankeny. Boehner headlined a breakfast fundraiser for Zaun the following morning, but Republicans didn’t publicize that event. If Zaun were a priority, I think Boehner would have done a press event for him.
Zaun, Miller-Meeks and Lange are all on the bottom tier of the NRCC’s “young guns” program. The NRCC reserved air time in four more Congressional districts this week, but there are still no Iowa districts on their media buy list. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved air time in Boswell’s district.
Any comments about the U.S. House races in Iowa are welcome in this thread.