New Rasmussen poll on the Iowa Senate and governor races

A new Rasmussen poll finds Senator Chuck Grassley’s lead shrinking against Roxanne Conlin and Terry Branstad still over 50 percent against Governor Chet Culver. Rasmussen surveyed 500 Iowa likely voters on April 29, producing a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

In the Senate race (survey questions and toplines here), Rasmussen found Grassley ahead of Conlin 53 percent to 40 percent. Grassley led Conlin 55-36 in Rasmussen’s previous Iowa poll, taken in mid-March. Rasmussen’s summary notes that Grassley “now leads Conlin by only five points among women.”

Grassley leads Democrat Bob Krause by 57 percent to 31 percent, the same as in Rasmussen’s March poll. He leads Tom Fiegen by 57 percent to 30 percent, a slightly smaller margin than his 57-28 lead in March.

This race is still Grassley’s to lose; Rasmussen finds 63 percent of respondents have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of the incumbent, while only 34 percent have a very or somewhat unfavorable opinion. The corresponding numbers for Conlin are 44 favorable/30 unfavorable.

However, a few stumbles by Grassley could make this race highly competitive in a hurry. At the very least Conlin is going to make it a lot closer than any other Democrat has against Grassley in the last 25 years.

I expect Conlin to have little trouble winning the Democratic primary on June 8. Not only is she the best-known candidate, she out-raised Grassley in the first quarter and had about $1 million cash on hand as of March 31. According to FEC reports, Krause had $352 and Fiegen had $582 on hand at the end of the first quarter. The Des Moines Register recently profiled Conlin, Fiegen and Krause.

Rasmussen’s numbers on the governor’s race continue to point to a tough road ahead for Culver. He trails Branstad 53 percent to 38 percent, little changed from Branstad’s 52-36 lead in Rasmussen’s March poll. Bob Vander Plaats leads Culver 45-41 in the new poll, up from a 42-40 lead in the March poll. Culver is barely ahead of Rod Roberts in the new poll, 43-41, little changed from the 40-38 lead Culver had against Roberts in the previous poll.

It’s not encouraging for an incumbent to be stuck around 40 percent against all challengers. Culver needs to bring up his own numbers and get out there to tell voters about his administration’s successes. For a preview of the case Culver will make with Iowa voters, watch his appearance on Chuck Todd’s MSNBC program last week.

Assuming Branstad will be the Republican nominee, Culver’s campaign will have to take him on aggressively. The race is bound to tighten up, but as long as Branstad is polling above 50 percent the odds are against Culver. Perhaps the governor can needle Branstad and provoke the same kind of response Vander Plaats got during the second Republican debate.

What do you think, Bleeding Heartland readers?

UPDATE: At Daily Kos, Steve Singiser comments, “is it possible that one of the most invulnerable Senators in recent American history is really within striking range. Looking at the Rasmussen poll in Iowa, it appears so.”

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  • It is still very early. Voters not really engaged yet

    My thought is that it is still very early and a good portion of voters have yet to form a really solid opinion. But the awareness of problems is alive in the electorate.

    Therefore I expect that when the election gets into full swing around September many people will be open to whoever the Democrat is. I have no doubt Grassley will open his mouth again and say something strange. Plus he will be confronted over and over again by the library of gaffes on youtube. Many of those show a real disdain for voters.

    As for Culver, well, while I am not a huge fan, the thought of any republican is scary anymore. Branstadt was barely adequate before. Now he will be cowed by the right wing of his own party on his every move.

  • Donors

    Don’t you line up fifty or one hundred donors before you run for the U.S. Senate?  I knew that Roxanne was going to get the lion’s share of donors and thus squeeze Bob Krause and Fiegen out, but I didn’t know it was going to be this bad.  

  • A tough road?

    These numbers don’t point to a tough road for Culver. They point to a whoopin’, a spankin’, a butt kicking. However you put it these numbers are baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad.

    He’s barely beating a guy who nobody had heard of 6 months ago. He’s even losing to Bob “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” Vander Plaats, for crying out loud!

    • Ohio Governor Ted Strickland

      has recovered a lot of ground in the past few months. It’s not too late for Culver to come back, but he probably will also need a little help in the form of gaffes by Branstad.

      Against BVP I think Culver would almost certainly win, despite what recent polls say.

      Roberts would not be easy to run against, but he’s not going to be the nominee.

      • Culver is not done yet

        Iowans have a HUGE propensity to re-elect incumbents.  That alone will be worth several percentage points on election day.


    • also

      I think it’s not far-fetched to imagine the Libertarian candidate getting 5 percent of the vote if Branstad is the nominee.