A worrying headline for Chuck Grassley

The headline certainly caught my attention. “In new Iowa Poll, nearly two-thirds say it’s time for someone new,” the Des Moines Register noted.

Senator Chuck Grassley is 87. Among currently serving senators, only Dianne Feinstein is older (by about two months). The Social Security Administration estimates an 87-year-old has a life expectancy of five years. If re-elected to a six-year term at age 89, Grassley’s odds of dying while in office are significant. It makes sense that many would answer this question this way.

So is Iowa’s senior senator really in trouble?

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I'm worried about the church

Kurt Meyer chairs the Executive Committee of Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and is President of Humanities Iowa. For the past year, he has written a weekly column for the (St. Ansgar) Enterprise Journal, where this commentary first appeared.  -promoted by Laura Belin

I’m worried about the church. I’m not talking here about my local congregation, the church in Mona. I’m not thinking about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the denomination I affiliate with. I’m not even referring to Christianity in general, although this is my primary concern.

Concern about “the church” is directed toward religion in America. Mark me down as one who believes in religion and its practice. It’s a major factor in my life and in lives of many I love. Additionally, I have worked with and for many churches and faith-based organizations over the years, professionally and as a volunteer, in relationships that are both deep and meaningful. 

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The majority should never decide minority rights

On this Transgender Day of Visibility, I want to take a moment to reflect on one part of Selzer & Co’s latest Iowa poll for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom. The survey asked 775 Iowa adults whether they supported various Republican proposals, including this one: “Require public school students to use the restroom of the gender assigned at birth even if the student does not identify as that gender now.”

Nick Coltrain summarized the findings: 47 percent of respondents said they favor restricting school bathroom use, 42 percent opposed, and 11 percent were not sure.

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As Grassley weighs 2022 plans, either path entails political risks

A new Iowa poll by Selzer & Co for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom contained shocking numbers: 55 percent of respondents, including 35 percent of Republicans surveyed, hope U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley does not run again in 2022. Just 28 percent of respondents (50 percent of Republicans) hope he will run for an eighth Senate term.

The same poll measured Grassley’s job approval at 48 percent, the lowest in this survey since 1982. Selzer polls routinely found Grassley’s approval to be above 70 percent during the 2000s and above 60 percent during the first half of the 2010s, a graph published in the Des Moines Register shows.

Although Grassley would be a prohibitive favorite to win again, the new numbers indicate widespread unease about the senator’s capacity to serve another six-year term.

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Anti-abortion constitutional amendment clears first Iowa House hurdle

Iowa Republicans have enacted most of their legislative agenda with little trouble during the past four years of full control of state government. But a few priorities eluded them, including a constitutional amendment that would pave the way for future abortion bans. Unable to find 51 votes in the state House for that measure last year, the GOP settled for mandating a 24-hour waiting period before all abortions.

The 2020 elections increased the GOP’s majority in the lower chamber from 53-47 to 59-41. Republicans didn’t waste time returning to unfinished business: a new version of the attack on reproductive rights cleared an Iowa House Judiciary subcommittee on January 19.

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