# Polls



Choosing the Democrat who can beat Chuck Grassley

Richard Bender served on former Iowa U.S. Senator Tom Harkin’s staff and previously worked for the late former U.S. Sen. John Culver. His long career in public service included devising and implementing the Iowa caucus system used by Democrats since the 1970s.

I have been involved in more than 20 Iowa general elections, working for the Iowa Democratic Party for five years and for U.S. Representative and then Senator Tom Harkin for 37 years. I believe Mike Franken is the most logical choice for Democrats in the June 7 primary because he is best positioned to win and has the experience to be a quality senator.

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Iowa's flat tax may mean fewer public services

Randy Richardson: Everyone likes paying lower taxes until they realize they may not receive the same benefits from the government.

Americans hate taxes. Other countries have taxes, including some with much higher tax rates, but for some reason their citizens don’t have the same objections as their American counterparts.

There are a variety of reasons for this, but one of the most common is that many Americans are simply unaware of what government does for them. A 2008 Cornell Survey Research Institute poll showed that 57 percent of respondents said they had never participated in a government social program. However, 94 percent of these same respondents reported being the beneficiary of at least one federal government program, with the average participant benefiting from four of them.

Which brings me to the recently enacted flat income tax bill in Iowa.

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Cannabis criminalization is failed public policy for Iowa

Senator Joe Bolkcom represents Iowa City and has been a leading voice in the state legislature for updating Iowa law on cannabis.

This March 22 marks the 50th anniversary of an important report from the Shafer Commission, a group appointed by President Richard Nixon, tasked with studying marijuana and issuing policy recommendations. The group’s findings called for the decriminalization of cannabis possession in the U.S., but alas, the suggestions went unheeded.

Fifty years later, Iowa remains one of nineteen states where you can still be locked up for minor cannabis possession.

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COVID-19 divisions undermine support for other vaccinations

Governor Kim Reynolds and top Republican lawmakers have repeatedly bragged about protecting Iowans’ freedom not to get vaccinated for COVID-19, saying that getting a shot should be a matter of personal choice and not government mandate.

Now the latest Iowa Poll by Selzer & Co indicates that support for other required childhood vaccinations has dropped sharply since the last time Iowans were surveyed on the issue.

Republican respondents in particular are now less likely to support mandatory vaccinations against diseases like polio and the measles—a finding that suggests the misinformation campaign some have waged against COVID-19 vaccines has affected how many conservatives view all immunizations. When Selzer asked Iowans a similar question in 2015, there was no significant difference in views based on political affiliation.

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Bohannan, Mathis among top-tier Democratic House challengers

Two Iowans are among the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s twelve top-tier U.S. House challengers. Politico’s Ally Mutnick was first to report on the DCCC’s initial group of candidates added to the “Red to Blue” program, aimed at flipping Republican-held districts.

State Representative Christina Bohannan is challenging Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks in the new IA-01, covering much of southeast Iowa. State Senator Liz Mathis is challenging Representative Ashley Hinson in the new IA-02, covering much of northeast Iowa. Both Democrats have qualified for the June 7 primary election ballot, and both have been endorsed by EMILY’s List, among the big outside spenders in Congressional races.

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Surprising Iowa poll reflects Kim Reynolds' divisive leadership

The latest Iowa poll by Selzer & Co. for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom indicates that the governor’s race is far closer than many politics-watchers expected. Governor Kim Reynolds leads Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear by just 51 percent to 43 percent, with 5 percent unsure and 1 percent saying they would not vote. The survey did not mention Libertarian candidate Rick Stewart, who has filed nominating papers and will appear on the general election ballot.

The poll of 612 likely voters was in the field from February 28 to March 2 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. Reynolds received national media attention for delivering the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1.

The relatively small lead for an incumbent against a little-known challenger points to a downside of Reynolds’ governing style, which has been to pursue extreme positions on controversial issues while shutting out opposing views.

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