Thursday, October 09, 2014
Loras College Poll finds Braley and Ernst tied
DUBUQUE, Iowa— With less than a month to go, the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Tom Harkin is all tied up according to the results of the new Loras College Poll released today. The first October Loras College Poll of the U.S. Senate race in Iowa yielded the following result:
Bruce Braley 42.1 percent
Joni Ernst 42.4 percent
Other Candidate 3.7 percent
Undecided 11.8 percent
These new results from a survey conducted October 1-3, 2014, indicate a rise in support for Ernst since the Loras College Poll taken at the beginning of September. That poll showed Braley with the advantage.
Name Identification and Favorability—Comparison of Loras College Poll Results
Bruce Braley October September June
Heard of, favorable 37.0 percent 36.3 percent 35.8 percent
Heard of, unfavorable 35.8 percent 33.7 percent 25.7 percent
Heard of, no opinion 18.8 percent 20.3 percent 25.0 percent
Never heard of/refused 8.4 percent 9.6 percent 13.5 percent
Joni Ernst October September June
Heard of, favorable 42.5 percent 36.9 percent 42.2 percent
Heard of, unfavorable 37.2 percent 39.5 percent 29.2 percent
Heard of, no opinion 14.7 percent 16.8 percent 20.3 percent
Never heard of/refused 5.6 percent 6.8 percent 8.3 percent
“Our latest results indicate that State Senator Ernst has recaptured some of the momentum she possessed at the beginning of this important race for control of the U.S. Senate,” commented Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Loras College Poll, Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.
“Ernst’s favorability ratings have returned to levels we found immediately following the June primary. While our September poll found Ernst’s unfavorable rating higher than her favorable rating, this most recent poll finds Ernst has righted that ship. It is important to note that despite the campaign advertising, Congressman Braley has managed to always have his favorable rating above his unfavorable in our poll results. That is impressive given the media barrage on both candidates,” said Budzisz.
Preferences of No-Party Registrants
The Loras College Poll asked respondents to identify their party registration and their sense and strength of partisan affiliation.
“Braley and Ernst displayed similar patterns of support from their respective parties, with both enjoying strong support from the party faithful. The battle appears to be for those who are registered as No-Party. Traditionally, this segment of the Iowa electorate accounts for around a quarter of all voters in a midterm election,” Budzisz commented.
Of those all-important, No-Party registrants (comprising 21.5 percent of our random sample), the results for the U.S. Senate race were as follows:
Braley 34.1 percent
Ernst 42.6 percent
Other Candidate 6.2 percent
Undecided 17.1 percent
Beyond the No-Party registrants, Democratic and Republican registrants may view themselves more as independents than partisans, and still others may respond that they are unsure as to which party they see themselves belonging.
“Amongst all those voters who responded that they view themselves as politically independent or with an unsure affiliation, regardless of their specific registration, the news for Congressman Braley is better as he and Ernst exactly split this group 37.7 percent to 37.7 percent,” said Budzisz.
Sentiments of voters on President Obama’s performance in office and the direction of the country serve as an important backdrop to this midterm election. The Loras College Poll surveyed likely voters in Iowa on both of these issues.
Job Performance of President Obama
Comparison of Loras College Poll Results
October September June
Approve 40.8 percent 40.7 percent 42.5 percent
Disapprove 52.2 percent 53.0 percent 54.2 percent
Unsure/Refused 7.0 percent 6.4 percent 3.4 percent
President Obama’s job performance ratings remain virtually unchanged from previous polls.
“Many Iowans remain critical of President Obama, and it is clear that this fact is having an impact on the Senate campaign from ads and mailers to campaign talking points,” Budzisz remarked. “The same general persistent negative pattern holds for the assessment of the direction of the country as it has for President Obama’s job approval.”
Direction of Country
Comparison of Loras College Poll Results
October September June
Right Track 27.5 percent 24.8 percent 30.7 percent
Wrong Direction 58.0 percent 59.5 percent 58.5 percent
Unsure/Refused 14.5 percent 15.7 percent 10.9 percent
Military Action and the Islamic State
Given President Obama’s recent deployment of U.S. military forces in coalition operations against the Islamic State, or ISIS, the Loras College Poll asked voters whether they support this military action and whether or not they believe that the current strategy will be successful in defeating this organization.
Current U.S. Military Action against Islamic State/ISIS
Support Action 66.0 percent
Oppose Action 15.3 percent
Unsure/No Opinion 18.7 percent
While a clear majority of respondents support the current military action, a plurality (43.3 percent) of respondents do not expect the current strategy to succeed in defeating the Islamic State. Nearly a third more are unsure of the strategy’s expected success.
Expectation that Strategy will succeed
Yes, expect it will succeed 24.8 percent
No, expect it will not succeed 43.3 percent
Unsure/No Opinion 31.8 percent
The Loras College Poll surveyed 600 likely 2014 general election voters; statewide results have a 4 percent margin of error. The survey was conducted October 1-3, 2014.
· Survey conducted with a random sample of registered voters (from official Iowa Secretary of State voter file) who voted in the 2012 general election or who have registered since the 2012 election.
· Likely voter was defined within the sample drawn as those self-indicating they were “extremely likely” or “very likely” to vote in the 2014 election.
· While the sample was balanced for standard demographic variables such as age, gender and geography, it was not weighted for party.
· Survey included both landlines (80 percent) and cell phones (20 percent).
· The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
· Script development and methodology used for the survey received input from Republican campaign consultant Steve Grubbs, and Democrat campaign consultant Dave Heller.