Read more messages Fred Hubbell is testing with Iowa Democrats

Are Iowa Democrats more impressed by Fred Hubbell’s work in business and government, or by his long history as a donor and community leader? How bothered are they by criticism of Hubbell’s stances on labor issues, or by hearing that he is a wealthy former corporate executive? Are they reassured after learning more about his beliefs, philanthropy, treatment of employees, or commitment to creating jobs in Iowa?

Whereas the Hubbell campaign’s first message-testing poll last August focused on voters’ priorities and reasons to support the candidate, a lengthy survey in the field this week explores potentially damaging cases against the candidate as well as points in his favor.

A Bleeding Heartland reader recorded the nearly 20-minute call and shared the sound file. Follow me after the jump for the full questionnaire, which did not include any positive or negative statements about other candidates for governor.

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IA-Gov: Kim Reynolds below 45 percent against every Democrat

Governor Kim Reynolds leads five Democratic challengers but gains less than 45 percent support in every head to head matchup, according to the latest statewide poll by Selzer & Co. for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. Reynolds leads State Senator Nate Boulton by 41 percent to 37 percent, with 11 percent of respondents unsure and the rest saying they would not vote or would support some other candidate. She leads Fred Hubbell by 42 percent to 37 percent, John Norris by 41 percent to 30 percent, Andy McGuire by 42 percent to 30 percent, and Cathy Glasson by 44 percent to 31 percent.

I would have expected larger leads for Reynolds, since she has much higher name recognition than the Democratic candidates, and she receives substantial news coverage for free. The governor is in positive territory on job performance (47 percent of respondents approve of her work, 33 percent disapprove, 20 percent unsure) and favorability (48 percent vies her favorably, 32 percent unfavorably, and 20 percent unsure). In addition, the Selzer poll found 49 percent of Iowans see the state moving in the right direction, just 39 percent on the wrong track. Those are decent numbers for an incumbent.

Another plus for Reynolds: she had $4.14 million in her campaign’s bank account at the end of 2017, and she’s hasn’t spent much of it so far. While Hubbell, Boulton, and Glasson have been running television commercials in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets, Reynolds and acting Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg have been touring the state, earning local media coverage while holding campaign-style events to tout their administration’s accomplishments. That “Unleashing Opportunity” tour–all billed to the state as part of the governor’s “official” duties–has stopped in Mason City, Marion, Muscatine, Davenport, Maquoketa, Ames, Fort Dodge, Storm Lake, Pella, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Newton, and Cedar Falls. None of those visits cost the Reynolds/Gregg campaign a dime.

Selzer surveyed 801 Iowa adults between January 28 and 31, producing a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The respondents were not necessarily registered voters, let alone likely midterm election voters. So this representative sample of Iowa adults may or may not reflect the universe of Iowans who will cast ballots in November. CORRECTION: The gubernatorial race numbers were drawn from “the subset of 555 respondents who say they’re likely to vote in 2018. Those numbers have a margin of error of plus or minus 4.2 percentage points,” Jason Noble reported. Figuring out who will vote is one of the biggest challenges for any pollster. Self-reported intentions are a common screen, but not always an accurate one.

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Bad weather, good turnout for 2018 Iowa Democratic caucuses

The worst-case scenario came to pass today: after months of below-average snowfall, a huge winter storm hit most of the state hours before the 2018 caucuses. According to anecdotal reports and a statement from the Iowa Democratic Party, turnout on the Democratic side far surpassed the level seen in 2010 or 2014. John Deeth estimated that Johnson County Democrats “at least doubled our previous governor year caucus turnout record.” But poor road conditions surely kept thousands of politically-engaged people home tonight. I had hoped good weather would reveal how many activists were “fired up and ready to go.” UPDATE: Added below a “soft report” from the state party: with 80 percent of precincts reporting, attendance was 8,599. “While we are still getting results in, we expect turnout will exceed 9,000, which far eclipses the 5,000 attendees in 2010 and the 6500 attendees in 2014.”

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IA-Gov: Latest Nate Boulton spot pitches for older voters

Six of the 23 current state lawmakers who have endorsed Senator Nate Boulton for governor speak on his behalf in a television commercial that began airing today in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets. It’s the second spot Bolton’s campaign has released as part of a buy that will run through the February 5 precinct caucuses, at which Democratic activists will elect county convention delegates.

The ad appears to be designed to shore up Boulton’s support among older Democrats, who make up a larger portion of Iowa’s electorate than many people realize.

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"Everybody in, nobody left out": Cathy Glasson spotlights universal health care

Declaring that health care is a “fundamental human right,” and “Iowa should lead the way,” Cathy Glasson is taking her message to Iowa television viewers, beginning January 18. Single-payer health care reform has been a central theme of Glasson’s stump speeches since she began exploring a gubernatorial campaign. Her stance on that issue was a key factor in attracting endorsements from some progressive organizations and many activists who caucused for Bernie Sanders in 2016. It even helped Glasson win over television and movie actor Piper Perabo (hat tip to Christian Ucles). As Gavin Aronsen observed in this Iowa Informer profile, “lefty media outlets” with a national audience “have taken notice of Glasson’s grassroots campaign” too, in part because of her vocal support for Medicare for All.

I enclose below the video and transcript of “Heart,” which will air in the Des Moines and Cedar Rapids markets, according to a campaign news release. The spot is a good way for Glasson to distinguish herself from the rest of the field. Among her six rivals for the nomination, only Jon Neiderbach is also on record supporting single-payer health care. Neiderbach is unlikely to have the funds for substantial television advertising before the primary, though. I am seeking further details on how Glasson envisions creating a state-level universal health care system to replace private insurance and will update this post as needed.

Glasson is the third Democratic gubernatorial candidate to run tv ads this year, after Fred Hubbell and Nate Boulton. Two factors are driving the unusually early start for paid advertising. The upcoming Iowa precinct caucuses will be the first step in a convention process that may select the Democratic nominee, if no candidate receives at least 35 percent of the vote in the June 5 primary. In a departure from usual practice during non-presidential years, many Democratic caucuses will divide into preference groups based on the governor’s race on February 5. Field organizers and volunteers for the various contenders are working hard to turn their people out, because supporters of viable candidates will be able to elect county convention delegates.

Glasson can afford to pay for television commercials now without depleting her resources. Entities affiliated with the Service Employees International Union have contributed at least $1.8 million to her campaign so far, Iowa Starting Line reported on January 16.

UPDATE: Our Revolution, the national group that grew out of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, endorsed Glasson on January 18. In a statement, executive director Shannon Jackson said, “We are proud to support a progressive candidate like Cathy who has such strong ties to the labor community. From her work with the SEIU, to her activism on issues like raising the minimum wage and providing universal health care, Cathy has set herself apart from the competition. Having lived in Iowa her entire life, Cathy knows the needs of the working-class people of all backgrounds. Cathy is a proven leader who will work to ensure all Iowans have access to a good paying job, affordable housing, and quality health care.”

The Iowa CCI Action Fund, which endorsed Glasson in September, announced on January 18 that it will spend $40,000 to support her campaign over the next five months. “The funds will go towards statewide communications as well as grassroots field organizing in seven key counties: Story, Boone, Hardin, Sac, Guthrie, Adair, and Poweshiek.” The SEIU political action committee donated $30,000 to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement in October, funds that will support Iowa CCI’s state PAC. I sought comment from CCI on the funding and endorsement process; scroll to the end of this post for the group’s reply.

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