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I'll update this post with more details as they become available. In July, the DNC Rules Committee approved the following calendar: Iowa caucuses on February 6, 2012; New Hampshire primary on February 14; Nevada caucuses on February 18; and South Carolina primary on February 28. All other Democratic nominating contests would occur in March or later. The Republican National Committee has adopted a calendar keeping Iowa first as well.
Any thoughts about the 2012 caucuses are welcome in this thread.
The vote passed by a two-thirds majority, a requirement for the measure drafters included to lend to its acceptance from RNC members. The measure received 104 votes of the 144 members voting.
The caucuses would likely be held Feb. 6, under the schedule, followed in February by the New Hampshire primary, caucuses in Nevada and the South Carolina primary.
All other states would be allowed to hold their primaries and caucuses in March or April. States going in March would be required to apportion their nominating delegates proportional to the vote a candidate received in that state. April states could award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis, an incentive for states hoping to be seen as delivering the nomination.
Any state that violates the proposed calendar would lose half its RNC delegates. What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers? Is that a big enough penalty to deter a large state from trying to jump ahead of Iowa?
I hope the calendar sticks so staffers and volunteers aren't forced to do canvassing and phone-banking between Christmas and New Year's Day, like we did before the January 3, 2008 caucuses.
At least two potential Republican presidential candidates are coming to Iowa in the next couple of weeks. Former Senator Rick Santorum is headlining a fundraiser for attorney general candidate Brenna Findley in Sioux Center on August 17, and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is coming to the Iowa State Fair. I can't believe Santorum would think about running for president after losing re-election in a purple state by double digits. I'm still shaking my head over the warm reception Iowa Republicans give Pawlenty despite his record on fiscal issues and state borrowing. Several of Pawlenty's other ideas strike me as proposals only the hard-core GOP base could love, like cutting entitlement spending to pay for extending George W. Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Branstad said that if elected governor again, he would look at moving some of the services that have been pushed onto the local governments, particularly mental health and school funding, and making those more state funded. Along with that, he would put on a caveat that mandates those levies be abolished, which he said would provide instant property tax reductions for all classes of property across the board.
He said he did something very similar when he was governor before, but critics have since tried to distort his record on those issues.
"That was property tax relief and they called it spending," he said.
Maybe Branstad hopes that Iowans will forget his earlier campaign promises. But it's past time for Branstad to show how he would make the numbers add up. The final budget for fiscal year 2011 is now in effect. Let's see a rough budget document for fiscal year 2012, which doesn't dip into reserve funds, cuts general fund spending by 3-4 percent, and has the state take on more responsibility for funding mental health and education services.
Over the holiday weekend, Reynolds walked some of the state's largest parades with Branstad in Urbandale and West Des Moines, but she also covered parades in Dallas County, where Vander Plaats almost matched Branstad's vote, and in Humboldt and Jasper counties, where Vander Plaats racked up sizable margins on June 8.
Reynolds has made a point to meet with Vander Plaats supporters when visiting counties Branstad carried, such as Henry and Union. Reynolds' political experience relates mostly to fiscal matters, and economic and budget issues are at the forefront in her stump speech, but she makes sure her activist audiences know that she's "pro-life" and for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. Yesterday Reynolds spoke to Republicans in Carroll, the only county carried by State Representative Rod Roberts in the GOP gubernatorial primary. After the event she told journalist Douglas Burns that she believes abortion is "equivalent to murder." She then dodged several follow-up questions regarding what she views as an appropriate penalty for women who have abortions or doctors who perform them.
Interestingly, Reynolds told Burns that while she believes marriage should be for one man and one woman, she's not necessarily against sother forms of legal recognition for same-sex couples:
"We could take a look at civil unions," Reynolds said. "There are other options maybe that I would be in favor of looking at."
She added, "They can do civil unions. I think they can get to some of the same place that they want to look at."
I suspect that position is not popular with the social conservatives Reynolds is courting. A University of Iowa Hawkeye poll taken in the spring of 2009 found that about 37 percent of respondents statewide opposed any legal recognition for same-sex couples. Presumably that group includes the Republicans most energized against gay marriage.
Reynolds' position might resonate with many moderates, because the same Hawkeye poll from 2009 indicated that about 28 percent of Iowans oppose gay marriage but support civil unions. (About 26 percent of respondents in that poll expressed support for same-sex marriage rights.) That said, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Branstad campaign walk back her comments on civil unions if they are widely reported. A few months ago, Branstad suggested that he was open to legal protections for gay couples as well as gay adoption. His campaign spokesman quickly backpedaled.
Share any thoughts about the governor's race in this thread.
UPDATE: That didn't take long. Conservative blogger Shane Vander Hart posted the Branstad campaign's reaction to Reynolds' comments on civil unions:
Sen. Reynolds' position on civil unions mirrors that of Gov. Branstad's. They do not favor state-sanctioned civil unions, but would not have the government step in to prevent private companies and entities from extending same-sex benefits if they so choose.
Vander Hart comments,
(Scratching my head)
That's not what she said. If she doesn't favor state-sanctioned civil unions why would she say she is open to them? There's a disconnect there.
While on one hand I'm glad she believes that Iowans deserve to vote on the definition of marriage, when she said "the definition of marriage is between one man and one woman from a religious aspect" she failed to acknowledge that the definition of marriage has civil and not just religious implications.
She pretty much articulated what Governor Chet Culver believes in the matter, or at least says he believes regarding the definition of marriage.
The clarification offered by the Branstad campaign does little to clean up the situation. The question that Reynolds was asked had nothing to do with private companies that provide benefits to same sex couples. The question that she was asked was about the impact that gay marriages have had on Iowa, and her position on the matter. She is the one who brought up the term "civil unions."
When TheIowaRepublican.com reminded the Branstad campaign about Reynolds' exact statement, a spokesman responded by saying, "Kim used the reporter's phrase to describe what she was referring to, which is the ability of private entities to offer partnership benefits. She does not support state-sanctioned civil unions."
Reynolds' answer and the Branstad campaign's attempt to clarify the matter raise a number of questions about their understanding of the marriage issue in Iowa and the campaign's ability to properly prepare Reynolds for the number of questions that she will face while on the campaign trail.
This is the second time since the June 8th primary that the Branstad campaign has stubbed its toe on social issues. The first came when Planned Parenthood endorsed Governor Culver and the Branstad campaign failed to offer any comment to KCCI, central Iowa's highest rated TV news station.
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is bringing a candidate training workshop to Des Moines on Monday, July 12, Kathie Obradovich reported on her Des Moines Register blog today. Gingrich's organization American Solutions is running the workshop, and that group's CEO Joe Gaylord will accompany Gingrich on the trip. According to a press release, Gaylord has written a campaign manual geared toward "candidates at all levels, from local to Congressional, and for everyone in the campaign, from the candidate to the press secretary. Each chapter of Campaign Solutions starts with how-to advice, and ends with what-not-to-do warnings and how-did-you-do scorecards." Gingrich and Gaylord are also "distributing a weekly podcast to candidates similar to the GOPAC education tapes that helped prepare a generation of GOP candidates for the campaign trail."
The use of a poll to conduct fund raising has raised the distrust of the public to a point where they refuse to cooperate with researchers trying to obtain the opinions of any number of issues, including political campaign, and government: federal, state and local research. In a country inundated with telemarketing and direct mail fund raising it is more and more difficult for marketing and opinion researchers to get accurate data.
Competitive primaries helped Iowa Republicans make "significant" voter registration gains between June 1 and July 1 of this year, Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro announced at a press conference today. Voter registration totals as of June 1 (pdf file) were 710,017 Democrats, 607,567 Republicans and 772,725 no-party voters. As of July 1, registered Democrats were down to 699,972, Republicans were up to 644,838, and no-party voters were down to 749,441. A press release from the Secretary of State's office noted that "these totals include both active and inactive voters."
Iowa law allows voters to change their registration on the day of a primary or general election, and there were many more competitive races on the Republican side this year. It appears that approximately 10,000 Democrats and 23,000 independents became Republicans in order to vote in the GOP primary on June 8. Mauro remarked that Republicans gained in voter registration in 2002, when three men sought the nomination for governor and two sought the nomination for U.S. Senate. By the same token, the number of registered Democrats increased substantially in 2006, when Chet Culver was running against Mike Blouin and Ed Fallon while Jim Nussle was unopposed for governor on the GOP side. But Mauro "couldn't deny that the momentum is on the GOP side."
Not every party-switcher is a guaranteed Republican vote in November. Some Democrats may have voted for the perceived weaker Republican candidate for governor, and I've known independents who vote in whatever primary is competitive, no matter whom they plan to support in the general. Nevertheless, it's not good for the Iowa Democratic Party's voter registration advantage to shrink by such a large amount, particularly since it will be challenging to turn out many of 2008's new voters, who were mobilized by Barack Obama's campaign. Approximately 1.5 million Iowans voted in November 2008, but only about 1.05 million voted in November 2006. I will be surprised if turnout this November exceeds 1.1 million.
Click here for updated voter registration numbers by county and by Congressional, state house and state senate districts. After the jump I've posted links to pdf files showing voter registration changes following the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Iowa primaries.
Iowa Democrats' ability to execute their early voter program will be critical again this year. Strong early voting has saved several Iowa House and Senate seats the last few cycles. But voter mobilization can only do so much if there is a large enthusiasm gap between the parties. I also hope that Culver's campaign has a game plan for bringing the dissatisfied Democrats home in November.
It's time for another look at the Republican presidential contenders' prospects in Iowa. The 2012 cycle may seem like a long way off, but the serious candidates will probably start hiring staff in Iowa before the end of this year. Since the last time Bleeding Heartland covered this ground, several Republicans with presidential ambitions have spoken out on our GOP gubernatorial contest, visited Iowa or scheduled trips here during this fall's campaign.
The Republican Party of Iowa held its state convention today, but it wasn't the unity-fest Terry Branstad was hoping for.
Representative Steve King nominated Kim Reynolds for lieutenant governor, and Reynolds emphasized socially conservative stands in her speech to the convention. Former gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts declined efforts to nominate him for lieutenant governor, endorsing the Branstad/Reynolds ticket.
"I fully understand and respect Gov. Branstad's ability to recommend to [the delegates] who he wants as his lieutenant governor," Vander Plaats said in an address to the Republican Party of Iowa Convention. "But it would be hypocritical of me to spend more than a year championing government by the people, of the people and for the people and then ignore the will of the people."
Don't believe what you are reading in the newspaper or what you are seeing on the local news. The Republican Party in Iowa isn't divided. It's not coming off of a contentious convention. It matured and now is poised to make huge gains in November.
But Craig, you just described the convention as "contentious" in your own headline. How anyone would try to spin Saturday's events as the sign of a party not divided is completely beyond me.
Branstad had some tough words for Vander Plaats on Monday: "Remember that the person who opposed [Reynolds] for the nomination has been running here for 10 years, has probably spoken to everyone in that room 10 times," Branstad said. "We took the risk of going to the most conservative base of our party, and we won it fair and square, just like I won the primary fair and square."
The head of Mike Huckabee's HUCK PAC, Hogan Gidley, told the Washington Post, "It would be disrespectful to Mr. Vander Plaats and to many of Governor Huckabee's friends and supporters in Iowa if he were to endorse Governor Branstad without Mr. Vander Plaat's [sic] having already done so."
Vander Plaats will be the featured guest on Steve Deace's WHO radio program today at 5 pm, on the eve of the Iowa GOP's state convention in Des Moines. Like Terry Branstad, I won't be listening to Deace's show, but I do enjoy a little scenario spinning about the options facing Vander Plaats.
The Republican pollster Rasmussen finds Terry Branstad enjoying a post-primary bounce against Governor Chet Culver. A survey of 500 "likely Iowa voters" on June 14 found Branstad leading Culver 57 percent to 31 percent, with 6 percent of respondents not sure and 6 percent saying they would support some other candidate. Rasmussen's previous Iowa poll, taken about six weeks ago, showed Branstad ahead 53-38.
I assume we will see some other pollsters survey the Iowa governor's race soon. I am surprised that the Des Moines Register hasn't published any new numbers on this matchup lately. Selzer and Co. conducted an Iowa poll for the Register the first week of June, but the newspaper's coverage so far has focused a subsample of GOP primary voters.
Although Rasmussen has polled many primary contests around the country this year, he never released a survey testing Branstad and Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts before the Republican primary. Post your theories about reasons for the omission, or any comments about the Iowa governor's race, in this thread.
Polls close at 9 pm, but I decided to post this thread early in case anyone wants to chat before results start coming in.
I'll update later with returns in the key Iowa races. For now, share any anecdotes about voting or political talk today. I ran into a friend who was a Republican for most of her life, even voting twice for George W. Bush. She voted for Chet Culver in 2006 and plans to volunteer for his campaign this year, mostly because she doesn't want Republicans to cut preschool funding and other social services for kids.
9:15 pm UPDATE: 9 percent of precincts reporting, Terry Branstad 47 percent, Bob Vander Plaats 46 percent, Rod Roberts 7 percent. I have no idea which part of the state has reported--if those are from northwest Iowa counties, Branstad probably doesn't have anything to worry about, but if that's from central or eastern Iowa, this could be a lot closer than I expected.
Brad Zaun leads the early returns in IA-03, but it seems like Polk County is coming in early.
9:40 pm UPDATE. The Associated Press has called the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate for Roxanne Conlin. She has about 80 percent of the vote in the early returns; Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen have about 10 percent each.
Branstad is opening up a lead on Vander Plaats, about 51-41.
Zaun is dominating the IA-03 primary with over 50 percent of the vote (about half the precincts counted).
10 pm UPDATE: Zaun is being called the winner in the IA-03 primary. He has about half the vote with about two-thirds of the precincts reporting.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks leads the IA-02 GOP primary in the early returns.
Matt Campbell leads Mike Denklau in the early returns for the IA-05 Democratic primary.
Conlin just finished giving her victory speech to her supporters.
Ako Abdul-Samad won the Democratic primary in Iowa House district 66 with about 75 percent of the vote.
Mariannette Miller-Meeks looks smart for not wasting money on tv ads in the IA-02 primary. She has been called the winner with 50 percent of the vote in a four-way race. The NRCC's favored candidate, Rob Gettemy, may actually finish dead last.
Matt Schultz has a pretty big lead in the GOP secretary of state primary, about 47 percent so far. The big surprise to me is that Chris Sanger (who hardly raised any money) has almost as many votes as George Eichhorn, who had quite a few endorsements and has been active in Iowa politics for a long time.
Tea party candidate Tom Shaw has a narrow lead in the Republican primary in Iowa House district 8, but it's too early to know if that lead will hold up.
11:25 pm UPDATE: It's official, Gettemy finished dead last in IA-02. Miller-Meeks won that four-way primary with an impressive 51 percent of the vote. Will Republicans unite behind her?
Zaun is sitting at about 43 percent with most of the IA-03 votes counted.
Branstad is still leading with 51 percent of the vote, to 40 percent for Vander Plaats. If the Club for Growth had invested $1 million in Vander Plaats, this could have been a nail-biter.
Matt Schultz did win the secretary of state primary with 47 percent of the vote. Political veteran George Eichhorn got 27 percent, and Chris Sanger got 26 percent despite spending almost no money.
Dave Jamison easily won the GOP primary for state treasurer with about 67 percent of the vote to 33 percent for Jim Heavens.
Campbell has a very big lead in the IA-05 Democratic primary, with about 76 percent of votes counted so far.
In Iowa Senate district 13, Tod Bowman easily won the four-way Democratic primary with more than 60 percent of the vote. He had key union endorsements. This should be an easy hold for us in November.
Anesa Kajtazovic won the House district 21 Democratic primary with more than 90 percent of the vote (Kerry Burt dropped out of the race this spring).
Democratic incumbents Chuck Isenhart, Dave Jacoby and Mary Gaskill easily held off primary challenges in House districts 27, 30 and 93, respectively. All won more than 80 percent of the vote.
In Iowa House district 8, tea partier Tom Shaw is officially the Republican primary winner over Stephen Richards, who almost beat Dolores Mertz in the 2008 election. I like our chances of holding a seat that should have been the GOP's best pickup opportunity in the Iowa House.
Check the AP's page for results in the other statehouse primaries (mostly GOP).
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: I can't believe I forgot to mention the results in Senate district 41. State Senator Dave Hartsuch, who defeated incumbent Maggie Tinsman in the 2006 GOP primary, got a taste of his own medicine when he lost the Republican primary to Roby Smith by a 52-48 margin. Rich Clewell won the Democratic primary with 56 percent to 44 percent for Republican-turned-Democrat Dave Thede. Scott County readers, do you think these results improve our chances of winning this district? It has historically been Republican, but registration numbers have been trending toward Democrats, evening things out.
I'm Matt Schultz, and I'm running for Iowa secretary of state because I'm worried about the future of my children and the future of your children and grandchildren. It's time for new leadership in Des Moines, and I'm prepared to stand up and fight for fair and honest elections. Vote early, vote often might be the Chicago way, but it's not the Iowa way. I'm Matt Schultz, and I approved this message because I'm a conservative Republican fighting to protect the most important right of all: your right to vote.
Like Schultz's first ad, this commercial raises the specter of voter fraud without any evidence that this has been a problem in Iowa.
When Schultz says, "Vote early, vote often might be the Chicago way," the visual is a smiling Barack Obama in front of Obama/Biden campaign signs. The hint is sure to play well with Republican primary voters, many of whom may believe the 2008 election was stolen. That's easier to accept than the reality of a Democratic presidential candidate clobbering the Republican.
Journalists should ask Schultz if he really believes (as this commercial implies) that Barack Obama got where he is because of Chicago-style election fraud. Then they should ask him to prove that "vote early, vote often" has happened even once in Iowa during the past decade or two.
When Schultz says "I'm Matt Schultz, and I approved this message," the visual shows the words, "TRUST BUT VERIFY." Schultz used the same Ronald Reagan catch phrase in his first ad, although the Republican icon's famous words have nothing to do with voter fraud.
Your unintentional comedy of the day comes from Polk County Republican Party chairman Ted Sporer's blog, commenting on Schultz's commercial:
The only reason to oppose photo ID for voting is to perpetuate fraud. No other good faith explanation is possible. Although we are lucky to have the rarest of animals, an honest and competent Democrat, serving as Iowa's SoS, Mike Mauro's Democrat colleagues are your more garden variety and ethically challenged L/S/Ds.
As I discussed here, photo ID laws threaten to disenfranchise large numbers of voters (the 12 percent of the population lacking a photo ID) in order to solve a virtually non-existent problem (impersonating another voter at a polling place). That's why advocacy groups who work to protect "the most important right of all, your right to vote" almost universally oppose photo ID laws.
In case you were wondering, L/S/Ds means "Labor/Socialist/Democrats" in "the real Sporer" lingo.
Schultz may pander his way to his party's nomination, but his rhetoric ignores a fact that even Sporer grudgingly acknowledges: Secretary of State Mike Mauro is honest and highly competent. No one active in politics today has done more to safeguard fair and honest elections in Iowa than Mauro.
(A lot of good points in here. - promoted by desmoinesdem)
This diary is actually a response to a desmoinesdem post earlier today. I was going to make a comment, but my response was more robust, so here are my two cents that attempts to answer the burning question: How did former Governor Terry Branstad avoid a Tea-Party challenger, when so many other Republicans around the U.S. have not?
Let’s be clear. Everyone knows that Terry Branstad was not a pure conservative while he was governor of Iowa. However, this year we have seen several candidates who were challenged from the right because many believed that they were not conservative enough, whether it be Charlie Crist in Florida, or Senator Bob Bennett in Utah. To be clear, this is happening on the Democratic side too (i.e. Senator Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas and Senator Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania), so this is not only one party’s quest for purity. However, this post is about the GOP.
About 57 percent of likely Iowa Republican primary voters support Terry Branstad, according to a new poll by Selzer and Co. for The Des Moines Register. Just 29 percent plan to vote for Bob Vander Plaats, and 8 percent plan to vote for Rod Roberts. The Des Moines Register poll surveyed 1,793 Iowans at least 18 years old, and the sub-sample of Republican primary voters included 501 people. (That included independents who said they planned to vote in the GOP primary; Iowa allows people to change their party registration on primary election day.) The poll was in the field from June 1 through June 3, and results for the likely Republican voters have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.
This primary might have played out differently had Vander Plaats had more resources to make his case. About 34 percent of likely Republican primary voters weren't sure whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Vander Plaats, and 60 percent said the same about Roberts. Branstad not only is much better known, he also scored highest on attributes like "best ideas for bringing new jobs to Iowa" and "best able to curb government spending" (which is laughable when you consider Branstad's record on fiscal issues).
I will never understand why the Club for Growth and other national right-wing organizations decided not to get involved in the Iowa governor's race. Given the way the national conservative movement pushed Marco Rubio against Florida Governor Charlie Crist, you'd think they would have some issues with Branstad (who received a "D" grade from the Cato Institute when he was governor).
Selzer's poll for the Des Moines Register also asked likely Republican primary voters several questions about gay marriage. While 77 percent of them agreed that "Iowans should have a chance to vote on changing the constitution to specifically ban gay marriage," I was surprised to see that 20 percent of likely Republican voters disagreed with that statement.
Meanwhile, only 50 percent of likely GOP primary voters agreed that "Iowans should vote to remove current Supreme Court justices from their office because of their decision on gay marriage." An amazing (to me) 45 percent disagreed with that statement. Regarding the statement, "Some Iowans have overreacted to this issue, and having gay marriage in Iowa is just not that big a deal," 35 percent of likely Republican primary voters agreed, while 62 percent disagreed.
Share any thoughts about the Des Moines Register's poll in this thread.
Enter by answering the following questions. To qualify for the contest, your predictions must be posted as a comment in this thread by 7 am on Tuesday, June 8, 2010. This isn't like The Price is Right; the winning answers will be closest to the final results, whether or not they were a little high or low.
1. How many votes will be cast in the Republican primary for Iowa governor? (Hint: about 199,000 Iowans voted in the hard-fought 2002 Republican gubernatorial primary.)
2. What percentages of the vote will Terry Branstad, Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts receive in the Republican primary for governor?
3. What percentages of the vote will Roxanne Conlin, Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen receive in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate?
4. What percentages of the vote will Rob Gettemy, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Steve Rathje and Chris Reed receive in the Republican primary in Iowa's second Congressional district? Remember, if you expect this nomination to be decided at a district convention, make sure your guess has the top vote-getter below 35 percent.
5. Who will be the top four candidates in the Republican primary in Iowa's third Congressional district, and what percentages of the vote will they receive? Again, keep the top vote-getter below 35 percent if you expect this nomination to go to a district convention. Your possible answers are Jim Gibbons, Brad Zaun, Dave Funk, Mark Rees, Scott Batcher, Jason Welch and Pat Bertroche.
6. What percentages of the vote will Mike Denklau and Matt Campbell receive in the Democratic primary in Iowa's fifth Congressional district?
7. What percentages of the vote will Matt Schultz, George Eichhorn and Chris Sanger receive in the Republican primary for secretary of state? (I covered that campaign in this post.)
8. What percentages of the vote will Dave Jamison and Jim Heavens receive in the Republican primary for state treasurer? (The Iowa Republican blog has been covering this race from time to time.)
9. What percentages of the vote will State Representative Ako Abdul-Samad and challenger Clair Rudison receive in the Democratic primary for Iowa House district 66? (Click here for background.)
10. What percentages of the vote will Tom Shaw, Stephen Richards and Alissa Wagner receive in the Republican primary for Iowa House district 8? (Click here and here for background. Keep in mind that although Wagner withdrew from the race and endorsed Shaw, her name will remain on the ballot.)
Don't be afraid to make some wild guesses. You can't win if you don't play!
This is also an open thread, so share whatever's on your mind.
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.
Public Policy Polling's new poll on the Iowa governor's race has a lot of bad news for Democratic incumbent Chet Culver. The poll was in the field from May 25 to 27 and surveyed 1,277 Iowa voters, producing a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percent.
Former Governor Terry Branstad, the likely Republican nominee, leads Culver 52 percent to 37 percent. Bob Vander Plaats and Rod Roberts lead the governor by smaller margins, 43-38 and 40-38, respectively, but it's bad for an incumbent to be below 40 percent against all challengers. Only 28 percent of PPP's respondents approved of Culver's performance, while 56 percent disapproved.
[Branstad] has a 49-33 advantage among independent voters, and wins 20% of the Democratic vote while losing only 7% of the Republicans to Culver. Branstad's not overwhelmingly popular, with 42% of voters viewing him favorably to 37% with a negative opinion. But more important than the way voters view Branstad may be the way they see Culver, and the current Governor's approval rating is only 28% with 56% of voters giving him bad marks. His approval with independents is 22% and with Republicans it's 4%, and even among Democrats he stands only at 56%. [...]
It's a long way until November but for now Republicans are in pretty good shape in this race. Culver can't get reelected with these approval numbers- he will somehow have to make voters change their minds about him.
To my knowledge, 28 percent is the lowest approval rating ever recorded for Culver by any pollster. Incumbents below 50 percent approval are usually considered vulnerable, and incumbents below 40 percent are highly vulnerable. If Culver's approval really is 28 percent, calling this election an uphill battle would be an understatement.