Hillary Clinton Message Polling in Iowa

Update 3/6: DesMoinesDem got a poll testing Hillary negatives on March 5th. Layout seemed similar to this one.

Around 6:00 this evening I got a call from Mountain West Research that asked a wide array of questions on presidential candidates and policy messaging, mostly focusing on policy. It lasted about 35 minutes. I would say I’m 99.9% sure it was testing messages for Hillary Clinton. As you’ll see in my notes, the policies asked about seemed much more in line with a Clinton candidacy than any other White House hopeful. I wasn’t at my computer, so the following is from notes quickly written down on receipts and napkins, so it’s not word-for-word what was asked, but gets the general gist of it. Here’s what they asked:

  • Started with the basic are you registered in Iowa screening questions
  • Who do you caucus with – Democrats or Republican? How likely are you to caucus?
  • How favorable do you rate: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren
  • If the caucus were held today, who would you caucus for? Choices given: Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren. Who would be your 2nd choice?
  • How do you rate the current national economy?
  • How financially secure are you now compared to this time last year?
  • What is the biggest source of financial insecurity in your life? Options: Work benefits, big expenses, child care/health care, [one other I didn’t catch]
  • Out of the following, which is the 1st and 2nd most important to help families’ financial security: Tax cuts for the middle class, child care and paid sick leave, college tuition assistance, improving crumbling roads, broadband internet access, family [something], technical education, K-12 funding, small business assistance.

The caller than asked a number of questions of “which do you think is more important/bigger concern:”

  • Growing the economy OR paid sick leave
  • Creating 21st Century jobs in clean energy and biofuels OR better wages in current jobs
  • Cutting taxes on the middle class OR cutting government regulation and spending
  • Paid family leave for sick children or relatives OR raising take-home pay through means like middles class tax cuts
  • More help with paid family leave OR college affordability assistance
  • Paid sick days when your child is sick OR workers get family leave for when a child is sick [I might have written that one down wrong or they were just testing for slight differences in wording]
  • Wall Street and big corporations treating workers poorly OR people are working harder and not getting raises they deserve
  • Big corporations paying workers the bare minimum OR Wall Street wrecked the economy and never paid for it, got tax-payer bailout. The wealthy game the system and are the only ones benefitting
  • Create 21st Century jobs like bio tech and clean energy OR help current small businesses
  • A tax plan where the wealthy pay their fair share so we can give tax cuts for middle class families OR the wealthy pay their fair share so we can expand spending on [I think they said social issues]

Then they asked about climate change:

  • Does climate change need to be addressed: immediately, in next few years, my lifetime, or does not need to be addressed
  • The federal government is proposing a plan to limit carbon pollution released into the air by corporations that extract or import fossil fuels like oil, coal [and one other I missed]. The money raised from this tax would go to a $1,500/year refund check to middle class families to offset [I think it mentioned ways for individuals to reduce their pollution creation, but I’m not sure – really long question]
  • How do you feel after hearing this? Proponents say it’s a bipartisan idea backed by people like George W. Bush’s treasury secretary that makes polluters clean up what they put into the air, things that can cause childhood asthma. Opponents say it will raise gas and utility rates, it won’t do enough to fight climate change because China and India will still pollute, and it’s a pie-in-the-sky idea.

Next they asked in-depth questions about family and medical paid leave, which was a really big focus throughout the poll:

  • The Family Paid and Medical Leave program would allow workers to take paid time off to care for sick relatives or new children. It would guarantee a portion of workers’ usual pay to take time off. This would be paid by a new payroll tax that would cost $1.50/week for the average worker.
  • Proponents say that people who work hard should get paid short-term leave for medical emergencies and to care for sick children. Millions in the country currently get none. This support would help people’s financial security.
  • Opponents say it’s a multi-billion dollar tax increase. It would cause job losses and hurt small businesses. Programs like Social Security are already nearly bankrupt – we need to get that in order first.

Then they listed a number of issue topics and asked to rate them:

  • What would help most: Overtime pay and minimum wage increase, making women’s pay equal, paid family medical leave, assistance for college loans, help for retirement savings, childcare assistance, or middle class tax cuts.

Then there was a long list of policies that they asked to rate 1-7 if it would help “people like you get ahead:”

  • Job planning and apprenticeship help
  • Family medical leave insurance so everyone can take time off for a sick child
  • College affordability assistance
  • Raising the minimum wage to $12.50/hour
  • Reducing health care costs and co-pays
  • Paid sick days
  • Equal pay for women for the same work
  • Small business help by cutting taxes and red tape
  • Early childhood education
  • Changing overtime rules so people making less than $15,000/year would get paid overtime for more than 40 hours/week
  • Cutting taxes for middles class families with children
  • Infrastructure funding for roads and bridges that create jobs
  • Improving K-12 education
  • Expanding tax credits that cover childcare costs

After that the caller asked about a few specific policies a little slightly more in-depth:

  • On fair trade, do you think trade agreements help create more jobs by creating a more level playing field with other countries, or do you think it costs jobs because other countries will cheat anyway?
  • Do you favor a constitutional amendment that would get corporate money out of elections by banning unlimited contributions from campaigns?
  • On ethanol, do you think we should keep current subsidies because it helps Iowa farmers and reduces our dependence on foreign oil, or do you think it just gives hand outs to big agri-businesses, drives up the costs for food and hurts the environment?

It finished up with a few demographic and past support questions. The more notable ones were:

  • Are you a member of a union?
  • Are you part of a small business or self-employed?
  • Are you moderate, liberal or conservative?
  • In 2008 did you caucus for John Edward, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton?


Overall some pretty interesting stuff. You have to imagine it’s almost certainly from Hillary Clinton’s campaign given who it asks about favor-ability numbers up front. It could be Warren since she’s also mentioned, but the policies laid out seem much more in line with what Clinton would run on. Let me know if you hear others who got polled and we can compare notes: IowaStartingLine@gmail.com


by Pat Rynard
Posted 2/20/15



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