Dan Guild

Can Chuck Grassley really lose?

Dan Guild is a lawyer and project manager who lives in New Hampshire. In addition to writing for Bleeding Heartland, he has written for CNN and Sabato’s Crystal Ball. He also contributed to the Washington Post’s 2020 primary simulations. Follow him on Twitter @dcg1114.

Asking if Senator Chuck Grassley could lose seems absurd. He has received more than 60 percent of the vote every time he has been up for re-election, beginning in 1986. He represents the opposition party at a time when President Joe Biden’s approval rating is below 40 percent.

The Des Moines Register has not released Biden’s approval numbers for their latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co, but in March they found Biden’s approval in Iowa was 35 percent, with 59 percent of respondents disapproving. Given the national trends, it is unlikely that the president’s numbers have improved in Iowa since then. Moreover, Republicans have made big gains in Iowa since President Barack Obama carried the state in 2012.

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Democrats gain after Dobbs

Dan Guild: Seven of eight nationwide polls taken since the Dobbs opinion was released showed higher support for Democrats since the prior survey from the same pollster.

I hope to write more about generic ballot polling in detail, but for now I want to write about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade and the 2022 election. To date, eight nationwide polls have been completed since the court released the Dobbs opinion on June 24.

When analyzing how an event affected public opinion, it is important to compare surveys from the same pollster over time. This table summarizes each and highlights the change.

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A Virginia election with national implications

Dan Guild: Themes from the Virginia governor’s race will likely dominate the 2022 midterms across the country.

Ahead of the November 2 elections, I want to explain why the governor’s race in Virginia will tell us much about President Joe Biden and the outlook for Democrats. It is worth remembering that in September, the Democrats decisively beat back a recall effort in California. The result there suggested little had changed in the state since last November’s election.

However, the president’s job approval ratings have declined further over the past six weeks.

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America’s best pollster has bad news for Democrats. Is she right?

Dan Guild: No other recent poll shows Joe Biden’s approval as low among independents as Selzer’s new Iowa poll.

The latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom is full of bad news for Democrats. President Joe Biden’s job approval in Iowa is a measly 31 percent, with 62 percent of respondents disapproving. Governor Kim Reynolds’ job approval is 53 percent, with 43 percent disapproving. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley leads his most likely Democratic opponent, Abby Finkenauer, by 55 percent to 37 percent.

If Selzer is right, the bad news extends far beyond Iowa. This polling suggests Democratic fortunes in 2022 look abysmal.

I have the greatest respect for Ann Selzer, and the last time I suggested she was wrong, I was wrong. 

So why do I think she is wrong now?

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A worrying headline for Chuck Grassley

The headline certainly caught my attention. “In new Iowa Poll, nearly two-thirds say it’s time for someone new,” the Des Moines Register noted.

Senator Chuck Grassley is 87. Among currently serving senators, only Dianne Feinstein is older (by about two months). The Social Security Administration estimates an 87-year-old has a life expectancy of five years. If re-elected to a six-year term at age 89, Grassley’s odds of dying while in office are significant. It makes sense that many would answer this question this way.

So is Iowa’s senior senator really in trouble?

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A race that ends where it began

Dan Guild: Donald Trump’s presidency is defined by the stability of its unpopularity, and elections with incumbents are defined by perceptions of their job approval. -promoted by Laura Belin

I wrote at Crystal Ball in April that elections with incumbents are defined by perceptions of their job approval. In a post for this site in July, I suggested that Trump’s approval, and the sense across the country that things were out of control, reminded me of the difficulties that Jimmy Carter faced in his re-election.

On the eve of the election I find myself thinking about the parallel to 1980 again.

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