Governor Terry Branstad is a "pretty clear favorite" for re-election, according to a new Iowa poll by Public Policy Polling.
In a survey of 846 Iowa voters between February 1 and 3, Branstad leads former Governor Chet Culver in a governor’s race by 50 percent to 40 percent, leads State Senator Jack Hatch by 48 percent to 33 percent, and leads State Representative Tyler Olson by 47 percent to 31 percent. (He’s nearly tied with former Governor Tom Vilsack, who almost certainly won’t run.) Branstad’s approval rating among the poll respondents is 45 percent, with 44 percent disapproving of his performance as governor. The full polling memo is here (pdf); Tom Jensen’s summary of results is here.
PPP also polled Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz against Democrat Brad Anderson and found Anderson ahead by 33 percent to 31 percent. I wouldn’t read too much into that finding, since only the most politically engaged Iowans know enough about either man to have an opinion. Schultz’s favorable/unfavorable numbers were 12 percent/16 percent; Anderson’s were 5 percent/7 percent. PPP did not test Schultz against former Secretary of State Michael Mauro, who is considering another campaign for his old job.
Another interesting finding from the PPP survey: 46 percent of respondents said same-sex marriage should be legal, while 43 percent said it should be illegal. In a poll by the same firm in October 2011, “only 41% of [Iowa] voters thought it should be legal to 48% who wanted it illegal.”