New Poll Has Bad News for Iowa GOP, Good News for Corn

An extensive new poll testing Iowans’ opinions was released by Public Policy Polling, providing plenty to chew over for the politically-inclined. The poll tested Iowa Caucus candidate preferences for both Democrats and Republicans. DesMoinesDem just put up a good analysis of that today, so you can check out insight into that section at Bleeding Heartland. I found the polling done on Iowa issues and Iowa electeds to be particularly interesting. Here’s what stood out to me:

Democrats Hold Advantage in Congressional Approval

All three Republican Congressmen are underwater in their approval numbers, while Democrat Dave Loebsack is the only with higher favorables:

Rod Blum: 14% Favorable/ 22% Unfavorable/ 63% Unsure
Dave Loebsack: 32% Favorable/ 28% Unfavorable/ 40% Unsure
David Young: 13% Favorable/ 21% Unfavorable/ 66% Unsure
Steve King: 30% Favorable/ 41% Unfavorable/ 29% Unsure

Those large amounts of Unsure %s for Blum and Young could be troublesome in their reelection campaigns, as neither are great fundraisers (though Blum can self-fund), and may risk getting defined by the opposition. King’s poor numbers are a little surprising considering how easily he’s always re-elected.

[Edit: My apologies, apparently I misread the poll. These numbers were each Congressman’s statewide numbers, not their approval in their district. I didn’t realize it at the time, because why would you poll David Young statewide? Anyway, Blum is 31/31 in-district, Loebsack 44/35, Young 24/35, and King 41/41. That makes more sense. Bad for Young, decent for Blum)

Iowans Strongly Oppose Governor Branstad’s Priorities

The poll has very bad news for Terry Branstad. While he still sits at an even 44% Approve/ 44% Disapprove rating, the Governor-for-Life’s governing priorities are deeply unpopular with Iowans. 68% oppose his plan to close the state’s mental health facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. A mere 12% approve. Amazingly, only 20% have no opinion, demonstrating that Iowa voters are paying close attention to the issue Branstad would probably prefer to just get over with already. Iowans also strongly oppose Branstad’s attempt to privatize Medicaid with for-profit managed care organizations. 52% oppose privatizing Medicaid, while only 22% support it.

Iowa Backs Two Key Democratic Agenda Items

Democrats should feel better about their messaging efforts on some of their most important issues. 57% back raising the minimum wage to $10.10/hour, long a Democratic priority. On gay marriage, the state has turned decidedly in favor. 50% say it should be allowed, while 41% oppose its legalization. Take note, Republican presidential candidates, all of which oppose gay marriage. Even 22% of Iowa Republicans support it, possibly giving some pro-gay marriage Republican an opening if they’d take it.

Joni Ernst’s Doing Ok, Not Great

While many people aren’t sure about their individual Congressmen, plenty of people have an opinion about Joni. And it’s split. 40% approve of her job performance in the Senate, 41% disapprove. Not bad, but not too great either. Chuck Grassley is polling strong as always, with a 53% approval and 32% disapproval.

Vilsack’s Numbers Strong

Recently Tom Vilsack hinted he might be open to running for office in Iowa again. His favorable numbers stand at a health 48% Favorable/ 34% Unfavorable/ 18% Unsure. Not bad considering he’s been away in D.C. for seven years.

Kim Who?

For all of Terry Branstad’s efforts to prop up his Lt. Governor as his successor, Kim Reynolds isn’t known well enough for many Iowans to give an opinion. 56% are unsure whether they have a favorable or unfavorable view of her. She’ll need to work on that if she’s going to run for Governor in a few years.

Ouch, Drake University

It seems a little unfair to have included Drake in asking Iowans which college they root for the most in college sports. Drake only got 3%, compared to 43% for Iowa, 23% for Iowa State and 9% for Northern Iowa. Sports isn’t really Drake’s strong suit, nor is their alumni base large enough to compete with any of the state schools. Now on the other hand, had they asked about which school holds the cutest competition to crown an annual live mascot, I think the Beautiful Bulldog Contest would easily beat out all others.

Surprise! Iowans Love Corn

I really enjoy when polling firms throw in a few fun questions to an otherwise lengthy poll call. The poll found that 74% of Iowans have a favorable opinion of corn. 9% hold an unfavorable view, all of whom should probably be run out of the state immediately. 18% of Iowans could not form an opinion on corn, which defies all logic.


by Pat Rynard
Posted 4/29/15

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