IA-Gov: New Register poll shows Branstad in great shape

The latest poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register finds Governor Terry Branstad in a commanding position going into his undeclared but very likely sixth campaign for Iowa governor.

Among 650 Iowa adults surveyed between December 8 and 11, 58 percent of respondents approved of Branstad’s job performance, while just 33 percent disapproved. The governor’s favorable/unfavorable ratings were 58 percent/34 percent. Furthermore, 55 percent of respondents feel Iowa is generally moving in the right direction, while just 33 percent think the state is on the wrong track. The margin of error for this poll is plus or minus 3.8 percent, and although “Iowa adults” may not be perfectly representative of the 2014 voter universe, any incumbent governor with these numbers would be heavily favored to win another term.

The Democrats who have announced plans to run against Branstad are mostly unknown to Iowans. According to the Register’s poll, 73 percent of respondents didn’t know enough to express a favorable or unfavorable opinion about State Senator Jack Hatch, 79 percent were not sure about State Representative Tyler Olson, 76 percent were not sure about former State Representative Bob Krause, and 87 percent were not sure about first-time candidate Paul Dahl, who announced his campaign in October. In a ballot test, Branstad led Hatch by 52 percent to 29 percent and led Olson by 51 percent to 28 percent. Hatch announced yesterday that he is putting $200,000 of his own money into his gubernatorial campaign. It will take a lot more money than that to raise his name recognition significantly statewide. Even then, something dramatic probably would need to happen to dent Branstad’s approval enough to make him vulnerable. The governor may not be responsible for a decrease in Iowa unemployment that has closely tracked the national jobless rate, but assuming the economy continues to improve slowly, many voters may give the incumbent credit.

Any comments about the governor’s race are welcome in this thread.  

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