The ghost of 1980

Based on the latest Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register, Dan Guild wonders whether history will repeat itself, with an unpopular president taking down U.S. senators from his party. -promoted by Laura Belin

The presidential election of 1980 was by far the most important election of my lifetime. It gave power to social conservatives who had never tasted power before (Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford were both pro-choice). It also brought to fore and gave explicit expression to white racial resentment when Ronald Reagan spoke of “welfare queens” driving Cadillacs.

The 1980 election changed not only Republican politics (every GOP nominee since has been pro-life) but also Democratic politics. In the aftermath of the Reagan presidency, Democrats began talking about “ending welfare as we know it.” President Bill Clinton signed a major welfare reform bill 45 days before the 1996 election, in which he had a significant lead.

What is difficult to explain to those who have no memory of 1980 is how shocking the results were. It was not just that Reagan won, but that Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate for the first time in decades. The GOP picked up twelve Senate seats, beating some well-liked Democrats with national reputations.

Continue Reading...

IA-Sen: New Des Moines Register poll confirms Joni Ernst is vulnerable

Iowans haven’t voted a sitting U.S. senator out of office since 1984, but a third poll taken since the June 2 primary shows Senator Joni Ernst slightly trailing Democratic nominee Theresa Greenfield.

One poll might be dismissed as a fluke. Two polls might be explained away by the fact that groups supporting Greenfield commissioned the surveys. But Selzer & Co, which conducts the Iowa Poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom, has no dog in this fight.

Continue Reading...

Two polls show Greenfield leading Ernst, Iowa in play for Biden

The 2016 elections were so devastating for Iowa Democrats that I thought Iowa had probably relinquished swing-state status and would not have a targeted U.S. Senate race in 2020.

However, Senator Joni Ernst’s approval numbers have been sliding for some time. The first two polls published following last week’s primary election show Democratic Senate nominee Theresa Greenfield slightly leading Ernst.

The same surveys point to a highly competitive race between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden for Iowa’s six electoral votes.

Continue Reading...

Donald Carter Trump

Dan Guild examines opinion polls from 1979 and 1980 for clues on how the COVID-19 crisis could affect President Donald Trump’s approval. -promoted by Laura Belin

The White House predicts between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans may die because of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Ten million people in this country have lost their jobs in two weeks. Ian Bremmer noted that an estimated 3.5 billion people were in lockdown because of the pandemic, which probably makes it the most widely shared experience in human history.

Continue Reading...

Expectations: Yes, they REALLY matter

Dan Guild argues that while Bernie Sanders has clearly improved his standing in Iowa, he may be losing the expectations game. -promoted by Laura Belin

Of all the Alice-through-the-looking-glass parts of the American political system, the one I have been completely unable to explain to foreigners is expectations and the Iowa caucuses. It usually goes something like this:

Sane person from another country: “Candidate X won”

Pundit: “Well, not really”

Sane person from another country: “But they got more votes”

Pundit: “But they were expected to win by 10 and they only won by 3, so they lost”

Sane person from another country: “That makes no sense.  So who won?  The person who came in second?”

Pundit person: “No, they got about what they expected.  No, the clear winner is the candidate who finished third.  There is no doubt they won.”

Continue Reading...
View More...