Second poll says Iowa Senate dead heat

YouTube/Greg Nash

A second poll in as many days is showing the Iowa Senate race to be a dead heat, with Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Senator Joni Ernst tied.

ADVERTISEMENT
The USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll gives each of the candidates 40 percent support among likely voters, and near-even vote counts: Braley with 201 respondents backing him, and Ernst with 200.

Four third-party candidates took a total of five percent support, and 15 percent were undecided.

The new survey is near-identical to one out Tuesday from Democratic firm Public Policy polling that put Braley ahead in a 41-40 percent split.

Unlike PPP’s poll, however, which gave Ernst a solid lead among independents, the Suffolk University survey shows them breaking only slightly in her favor, 39 percent to Braley’s 36 percent support.

President Obama is neither well-liked nor seen as having done a good job by Iowans, according to the new poll, which showed 51 percent of respondents view him unfavorably and 51 percent disapprove of his job performance.

However, his impact on the race may be a wash, as a quarter of respondents each say their vote this fall is intended to be one for or against him.

Braley has faced a difficult month as he’s drawn negative press for a number of gaffes Republicans have used in efforts to paint him as out of touch. But Democrats are optimistic that once they return the focus on some of Ernst’s more conservative policy positions, their candidate will be able to break away.

And the Suffolk University survey suggests Ernst may have more trouble with her image in the race than Braley. When respondents were asked the first word that comes to mind with reference to the Republican, the largest response was something negative.

In contrast, the most common response to Braley, aside from offering no opinion, was positive, while the next most-common response was something negative. Indeed, while Braley is seen more positively than negatively, Ernst splits voters, about 40 percent each viewing her negatively and positively.

The survey also indicates Democrats could have an opening if Iowa is seen by voters as key to control of the Senate, as more Democrats — 68 percent — than Republicans — 59 percent — said control of Congress will be a factor in their vote.

Suffolk University polled 500 general election voters from Aug. 23 to 26 via landline and cellphone, and the survey has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

More in Senate races

Poll: Strickland leads Portman in Ohio

Read more »