Greenfield Leads Ernst In New Poll; First Ads Launch

With the general election matchup set between Theresa Greenfield and Sen. Joni Ernst, the campaign for a six-year Senate term is fully underway after a year of Democrats duking it out during the Iowa primary season.

Greenfield’s campaign wasted no time getting an ad on TV in the wake of her resounding victory Tuesday night.

“Jobs To Get Done” is a 30-second spot focused on an oft-used refrain from Greenfield’s childhood on a Minnesota farm.

“My dad used to say, ‘On our farm, there are no boy jobs or girl jobs, just jobs that needed to get done,” Greenfield says as she walks alongside a barn.

Raised in the rural community of Bricelyn, on the Iowa-Minnesota border, from the beginning of her campaign Greenfield has leaned into her farm girl roots, much like Ernst did during her first run for Senate in 2014.

The ad does not mention Ernst directly, but speaks to the work ethic that led Greenfield, once a young widow with small children, to get a college education and run a small business in Des Moines.

“After my first husband died, I went back to school while caring for two kids, then worked my way up to running a small business,” Greenfield says. “…Washington’s not working for folks in Iowa. Let’s change that.”

On Friday morning, the National Journal reported on a Public Policy Polling survey commissioned by EMILY’s List — a major backer of Greenfield — showing the Democrat leading Ernst in a head-to-head matchup by 2 percentage points.

Greenfield received 45% support when asked which candidate Iowans intend to vote for in the fall. Ernst was favored by 43% of respondents, with 12% telling pollsters they are unsure. The survey of 963 Iowa voters was conducted June 3-4.

“This poll confirms what Theresa’s primary win made clear this week — Iowans are ready to elect a senator who will fight for them and put them first in Washington,” said Greenfield’s campaign manager, Jordanna Zeigler, in a statement. ”

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The poll also shows a poor approval rating for Ernst, with 45% of voters saying they have an unfavorable opinion of the senator compared to 38% who view her favorably. Greenfield, who has never held elected office, is rated favorably by 36% of voters and unfavorably by 23%, with 41% unsure.

President Donald Trump is viewed negatively by 52% of Iowa voters. Joe Biden’s unfavorable rating is 51%, though 13% said they are unsure about Biden compared to the 3% who don’t have an opinion of Trump. The president leads Biden in a general election matchup by 1 percentage point, 48% to 47%, even with Biden having a just 37% favorable rating. Five percent of Iowa voters say they are undecided.

This isn’t the first poll in recent weeks to show a tight race between Ernst and Greenfield.

Early in May, another PPP survey put Ernst up one point on Greenfield, 43% to 42%.

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Iowa Forward, a progressive advocacy organization, in conjunction with Progress Iowa, released a new digital ad today criticizing Ernst’s 2017 vote — as part of the Republican bill repealing the Affordable Care Act — to eliminate the Centers for Disease Control Prevention and Public Health Fund, a move that has come under increased scrutiny during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Joni Ernst voted to cripple officials’ ability to detect, prevent, and respond to pandemics,” the narrator says. “If she had her way, this would be even worse.”

Because Republicans’ ACA repeal bill failed to pass the Senate, the CDC’s Public Health Fund was not eliminated.

This ad is the first in a series coming from Iowa Forward.

Megan Srinivas, an infectious disease physician in Fort Dodge, said “The work of the CDC should be at the forefront of our elected officials’ minds when they are making budget decisions. Eliminating, or even attempting to eliminate, these appropriations is irresponsible for our public health.”

“Iowans deserve to know when their senator is voting against their best interest, especially when so many lives are on the line,” said Mazie Stilwell, an Iowa Forward spokesperson, noting the 580 Iowans who have died as of Friday morning during to COVID-19.

 

By Elizabeth Meyer
Posted 6/5/20

Iowa Starting Line is an independently-owned progressive news outlet devoted to providing unique, insightful coverage on Iowa news and politics. We need reader support to continue operating — please donate here. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more coverage.

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