Senate polls show dead heat in Iowa, Dems up in NH

A new survey of the Iowa Senate race shows Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst tied at 43 percent support among registered voters.

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The NBC News/Marist poll of the race indicates the open seat contest to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Harkin (D) is still fluid, with 14 percent of registered voters undecided. 

But a new NBC News/Marist survey out of New Hampshire spells much better news for the Democrat there, putting Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D) up over her leading GOP contender, Scott Brown, by eight points. Shaheen takes 50 percent support, Brown takes 42 percent and only 6 percent are undecided.

That survey is in line with most previous polls of the race, which have shown Shaheen holding a steady single-digit lead since the former Massachusetts senator jumped into the race. 

Both Democrats are buoyed by a lead with female voters, but Braley’s advantage with that voting bloc is much slimmer.

Shaheen leads Brown by 25 percent with women, while Braley leads Ernst by 8 percent.

But the Iowa survey reveals voters haven’t yet tuned into the race, as both candidates are still largely unknown to the state, with about a third of registered voters saying they had never heard of or were unsure of their opinions on them. 

But for those who are familiar with the candidates, they’re torn. Ernst is viewed favorably by 29 percent and unfavorably by 24 percent of respondents, while Braley is viewed favorably by 36 percent and unfavorably by 32 percent of respondents.

In New Hampshire, Shaheen is still popular with a majority of voters, 52 percent, while Brown has struggled to improve his own popularity in the Granite State since moving there late last year from Massachusetts, where he formerly served as a senator. Voters are split on him in the NBC News/Marist survey, with 40 viewing him favorably while another 39 percent view him unfavorably.

But the president continues to be a concern for Democrats in both states, despite the fact he won them both twice. Fifty-four percent of registered voters disapprove of his job performance in New Hampshire, while 52 percent say the same in Iowa.

The Iowa survey was conducted via landline and cellphone among 1,599 registered voters and has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

The New Hampshire survey was conducted via landline and cellphone among 1,342 registered voters and has a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points.