First-term Representative Rod Blum, one of the top Democratic targets in this year's U.S. House races, released partial results from an internal poll showing him with 12-point leads over either Pat Murphy or Monica Vernon, his two challengers in the first Congressional district. I enclose below the campaign's statement, which says Blum leads Murphy by 45 percent to 33 percent and Vernon by 43 percent to 31 percent among 500 "likely voters" in IA-01. In the same survey, 43 percent of respondents said they approved of Blum's work, while 27 percent disapproved.
It's not clear what likely voter screen the polling co, inc used for this survey. Blum's campaign has not responded to my request for further information, including the gender and partisan breakdown of the sample, the question wording, and what questions were asked before the ballot tests. Also unknown: whether this poll was in the field before or after Blum made headlines for wishing a recession on Washington, DC.
Former Iowa House Speaker Murphy was Blum's general election opponent in 2014, and Cedar Rapids City Council member Vernon was the runner-up in that year's five-way Democratic primary. Murphy takes higher name recognition into this year's race, while Vernon has raised more funds and has more support among the establishment in Iowa and Washington, DC. This week, her campaign rolled out endorsements from State Senator Jeff Danielson and the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which includes 75 House Democrats. Vernon's campaign also announced that it brought in more than $335,000 during the first quarter of 2016 and had $774,000 cash on hand as of March 31. Bleeding Heartland will follow up on Iowa Congressional fundraising after the April 15 deadline for candidates to file reports with the Federal Election Commission; year-end numbers are here.
The 20 counties in IA-01 contain 160,106 active registered Democrats, 139,973 Republicans, and 181,173 no-party voters, according to the latest figures from the Iowa Secretary of State's office.
Rod Blum campaign press release, April 8:
Poll: Congressman Blum Holds 12 Point Lead in Reelection Campaign
Poll shows Blum with double digit lead over Murphy, Vernon
DUBUQUE, IA – A recent poll shows Congressman Rod Blum starting his reelection campaign in a solid position to earn a victory this fall. Blum maintains a 12 point advantage among likely voters in the First District over both of his potential opponents, Pat Murphy and Monica Vernon. In the poll of 400 likely voters in the First Congressional District, Blum leads Murphy 45% – 33% and Vernon 43% – 31%. Additionally, the survey found Congressman Blum with a positive job approval rating of +16%, with 43% approving of his performance compared to just 27% disapproving.
Congressman Blum commented: “These results prove that returning to the district and working hard to help constituents is appreciated by Iowans. I also believe voters are responding to my work in Washington where I am trying to reform Congress itself, enact term limits, balance the budget, protect our borders, and reignite our lackluster economy. Our reelection campaign will be in a strong position heading into the general election regardless of which typical career politician the opposition chooses.”
Kellyanne Conway, CEO of the polling co, inc, who conducted the survey of 400 likely voters, added: “With 7 months remaining until the November 2016 elections, Congressman Blum is comfortably poised to compete successfully for a second term. He leads by 12 points in head-to-head balloting against both of his potential opponents, and is aided by a strong 16-point positive job approval rating with voters in the First District.”