Finally, someone has polled Iowa again. It had been 21 days since a highly credible poll had surveyed the state, but a new Quinnipiac Poll released this afternoon confirmed what many on the ground have thought: it’s all tied up. Literally, exactly tied.
Both Clinton and Trump stand at 44% in the new poll, with Gary Johnson coming in with 4% of likely voters’ support. Many had wondered where the Iowa race would stand after the Access Hollywood tape and three debates played out. The state has been trending much more Republican than usual this year, so even while Arizona and Georgia have moved into toss-up status, most expected Iowa to remain in a tight contest.
However, the most interesting numbers in the Quinnipiac Poll is the early vote. Clinton leads Trump by a substantial 61% to 27% among those who have already voted. That’s a significant improvement in the early vote margin of 2012. That election ended with Barack Obama taking 59% of Iowa’s early vote, while Mitt Romney claimed 39%, a 20-point spread. Clinton is ahead right now by 34 points, if this poll of the early vote is correct.
Republicans may yet turn out more early voters in the final stretch than Democrats do, though Democrats have a few thousand more outstanding ballots than Republicans. 62,749 Democratic ballots remain in the field, while 59,292 Republican ones have yet to return.
What’s most noteworthy is how that 34-point advantage for Clinton compares to the current returns by party registration. Registered Democrats have accounted for 46% of the current Iowa vote, with registered Republicans at 34% and registered No Party voters at 20%. If Trump is really only winning 27% of the early vote, that would mean that not only did the vast majority of No Party voters go with Clinton, it would mean that a decent amount of the Republicans didn’t even voted for Trump.
For many cycles, Democrats have excelled at identifying No Party voters who lean Democratic to turn them out early. Registered Republicans made up 32% of the early vote in 2012, when Romney got 39%. No Party voters accounted for 26% of the early vote and Democrats 42% of it, so obviously more No Party voters backed Obama to get him to 59% of the early vote share. That appears to be happening again.
Of course, anytime you take a smaller sample size within a poll, the margin for error is greater. So it’s possible that Clinton’s early vote margin is a little exaggerated. Or she may be ahead by even more. Regardless, it’s a very promising sign for the Clinton campaign organization in the state that they may be winning the early vote by an even larger margin than Obama did in 2012.
That’s despite the fact that registered Democrats are requesting absentees and voting at a slightly lower rate than 2012. Democrats are currently running at 88% of the requested absentees compared to this point in 2012, while standing at 85% of Democrats voted. Republicans are right at the same amount of voters who have requested ballots as of this point in 2012, and are at 91% voted.
There’s a few other interesting findings in the poll. 17% of Democratic men are backing Trump, while 7% of Republican women are going with Clinton. Overall, 9% of Democrats are breaking for Trump, as 6% of Republicans are crossing over for Clinton. Independents are a perfect split at 40% each. Clinton is also only winning white college educated voters by a 47% to 43% margin.
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by Pat Rynard