Fred Hubbell Pulling Away In Democratic Primary, Poll Finds


Des Moines businessman Fred Hubbell holds a substantial lead over the rest of the Democratic gubernatorial field, according to a new poll released this morning. A Remington Research Group poll commissioned by KBUR Radio of Burlington showed Hubbell at 46%, well above the needed 35% threshold to avoid a primary. Senator Nate Boulton comes in second at 20%. No other candidate breaks 10%.

Here’s the full candidate breakdown:

Fred Hubbell: 46%
Nate Boulton: 20%
Cathy Glasson: 7%
John Norris: 5%
Andy McGuire: 3%
Ross Wilburn: 1%
Undecided: 18%

The poll found that Hubbell’s strongest support was among Iowans over the age of 50, while Boulton led with voters in the 30 to 39 age range.

Hubbell’s strong lead may surprise many activists who have been closely following the race, but it might not be far from the truth given the disparity in ad spending. As we wrote earlier last month, Hubbell has outspent Boulton on TV by a five-to-one margin. No other candidate has come close on TV, and Cathy Glasson has been off of TV since the end of March. Hubbell is also the only candidate on the air in the Sioux City and Quad Cities market.

While activists attend forums and read articles on the candidates, there will likely be around 150,000 Democrats who participate in the June 5 primary. Most of them are not nearly as engaged, and get most of their information on the candidates by what they see on TV or from what they get in their mailbox. Hubbell’s substantial advantage in fundraising means those people hear a lot more from him than anyone else.

As we also wrote last month, the late end to the legislative session complicated both Boulton and Glasson’s fundraising efforts. PACs are banned from giving to state candidates until 30 days after the end of session. It ended on May 5; the primary is June 5. Labor PACs were major donors to both Boulton and Glasson (though unions could spend their money in an independent way to back them).

The race itself has also been a relatively uncontentious affair, meaning less news coverage to the back-and-forth arguments between the campaigns. That’s left reporting on the primary mostly to coverage of forums, local visits and profiles.

One way to change the state of the race could come on Saturday, when the Democratic gubernatorial field debates for the first time at an event hosted by KWQC and the Quad City Times.

Remington Research Group is seen as a generally reliable polling outfit, though it skews a bit to the right, and is run by Ted Cruz’s former campaign manager Jeff Roe. It was, however, one of the few polls that accurately predicted Donald Trump’s victory.

Starting Line will update this story later today with more information on the crosstabs.


by Pat Rynard
Posted 5/8/18

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