Quinnipiac's latest Iowa survey found U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley increased his lead over Democratic challenger Patty Judge over the past month. He's now ahead by 56 percent to 38 percent, "compared to a 55 - 43 percent Grassley lead" in Quinnipiac's September Iowa poll. More findings from the polling memo:
Judge leads 53 - 38 percent among Iowa likely voters who have cast ballots.
Men back Grassley 63 - 33 percent and women go Republican 50 - 43 percent. Grassley leads 95 - 4 percent among Republicans and 60 - 34 percent among independent voters. Judge takes Democrats 80 - 13 percent.
The same survey of 791 "likely Iowa voters" from October 20 through 26 showed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gaining ground against Donald Trump since September and leading by 61 percent to 27 percent among Iowns who had already voted. Scroll down to view the cross-tabs for the question about the Senate race.
Grassley's ability to blanket every major Iowa media market with television commercials has presumably helped him among likely voters. Judge was on the air in late August and early September, but with a much smaller ad buy. Since then, her campaign has been dark. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee never committed any serious resources to this race. The Iowa Democratic Party paid for two new commercials supporting Judge, on the grounds that Grassley "has changed." I enclose those below, along with the three most recent ads from Grassley's campaign (two positive, one negative).
Not only has Judge been massively outspent on paid media, her opportunities for generating free media coverage were limited when Grassley ducked out of what would have been the only Senate debate broadcast on statewide television. The senator agreed to debate Judge on October 19, but that event was not broadcast statewide and was overshadowed by the third debate between Trump and Clinton later the same evening. Grassley and Judge have one more debate scheduled, hosted by WHO Radio and WHO-TV on November 4.
Any comments about the Senate race are welcome in this thread.
Iowa cross-tabs from the latest Quinnipiac poll of the U.S. Senate race:
Grassley's campaign started running "Roberta" in mid-October. The spot features the daughter of a World War II veteran. Grassley's office helped her father receive the military medals to which he was entitled shortly before his passing. Any competent of the U.S. House or Senate has staff doing this kind of routine constituent service work, but the ad leaves the impression Grassley made a special effort on behalf of Roberta's father.
Last week, Grassley's campaign launched its third negative spot: "Judge?" This one features actor Ben Stein, reprising his role from the 1980s movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" as a teacher taking attendance. As with the second attack ad Grassley approved, the point is to contrast the incumbent's record-setting Senate vote streak with Judge's absences from meetings of the Iowa State Fair commission and the Iowa Economic Development commission.
Iowa Republicans have been doing a lot of chest-thumping about this ad. I was struck by how Grassley dinged Judge for skipping some debates among Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, even though Grassley chickened out of the October 20 Iowa Public Television debate.
The latest Grassley commercial, "Whistle," features Jane Turner, a 25-year veteran of the FBI who nearly lost her job after becoming a whistleblower. She describes how Grassley interceded with the FBI to save her pension and her life. For my money, this is the most effective ad Grassley has run all year.
Two new ads supporting Judge appeared this past week. I haven't seen them on tv yet, though. Both "Issues" and "Changed" were paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party. They feature the cardboard cut-out of Grassley from the ads Judge was running in August and early September. Judge's closing argument is that Grassley "has changed, and we can change our senator."
UPDATE: I have seen Judge's ads during newscasts in Des Moines. The version I saw was paid for by the Judge campaign, not the Iowa Democratic Party.