Iowa Republicans have reason to be very afraid. Time/CNN released an Iowa poll yesterday:
(828 RV, 3.5%)
Obama 55, McCain 40
Obama 51, McCain 38, Nader 4, Barr 3, McKinney 2
The top line is probably closer to the real state of play. Election-year polling usually overstates support for third-party candidates. There is no way Ralph Nader will win 4 percent in Iowa this year when he barely got 2 percent in 2000 and couldn’t even manage 1 percent in 2004. I highly doubt Bob Barr or Cynthia McKinney will win even 1 percent of the vote combined.
Getting back to the really scary news for Republicans,
“Obama is winning in all regions of the state, even in the western counties, where George W. Bush beat John Kerry by 17 points,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “Obama is winning rural voters in Iowa, not something you see in many other states.”
This poll was in the field from August 31 to September 2–that is, after John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate, but before the Republican National Convention.
Even if McCain gets a bump out of this week, he will still be well behind Obama in Iowa. I predict that this poll will cause McCain to throw in the towel here so that he can focus on his must-win states, such as Virginia, Ohio, Nevada and Colorado. (Any one of those states would put Obama over the top if he holds the states John Kerry won and picks up Iowa and New Mexico, where he leads comfortably.)
In 2004 George Bush had a huge volunteer base in Iowa, and he and Dick Cheney visited this state several times in the final two months of the campaign. Even so, an incumbent president during wartime barely beat Kerry here.
What chance is there for John McCain, who has never built a strong organization in Iowa? Kerry’s GOTV operation was not on the same level as Obama’s is now. The Obama campaign has organized canvassing in dozens of Iowa towns almost every weekend since mid-July.
Down-ticket Democratic candidates have a huge opening, with big gains in voter registration all over the state and a superior ground game.
Time to open your wallets for Becky Greenwald and Rob Hubler, and volunteer for their campaigns if you live in the area. Also, drop by the fun ReplaceTomLatham.com site launched by the Greenwald campaign this week.
I’ll write more in the next few days on why Iowa’s fourth and fifth Congressional districts are winnable.