General Election Matches Close in Iowa

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest Iowa poll finds mostly close match ups for the general election for President in the state. Hillary Clinton leads 5 of the Republican candidates, trails 2 of them, and is tied with the 8th.

The 2 strongest GOP hopefuls against Clinton are Ben Carson, who leads her 47/43, and Marco Rubio, who leads her 45/43. This continues the trend of Carson being the most electable candidate for the Republicans at this point pretty much everywhere we poll. He is the only candidate on either side of the aisle with a positive overall favorability rating in the state- 45% of voters see him positively to 32% with a negative opinion.

Clinton and Donald Trump tie in Iowa at 44%. We also tested a three way race between Clinton and Trump, adding Jim Webb into the mix as an independent. That actually gives Clinton a one point lead over Trump at 41/40, with Webb getting 9%. We’ve now found in both Iowa and North Carolina that Webb takes more from Trump than he does from Clinton when he’s included in the mix.

Clinton has modest leads over the rest of the Republican field. She’s up 44/43 on Carly Fiorina, 46/44 on both Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, 45/40 on Jeb Bush, and 43/36 on John Kasich. Clinton’s doing markedly better in these general election match ups in Iowa than when we last polled the state in mid-September. Then she trailed these 8 Republicans by an average of 3.5 points and now she leads them by an average of 1.5 points. Her improved poll numbers have been most pronounced when it comes to the Democratic primary field but she’s doing about 5 points better for the general election too.

Bernie Sanders does an average of 4 points worse than Clinton in general election matches in Iowa. He ties Bush at 41 but trails Cruz 43/42, Trump 44/43, Rubio 45/38, and Carson 47/37. Bush is one of the least electable candidates on the GOP side when it comes to head to heads against both Clinton and Sanders, a function of his 22/55 favorability rating in the state. That gives him by far and away the worst net favorability of all the candidates there- Trump’s the next worst but even he’s at 34/55.

Chuck Grassley remains easily the most popular politician in the state, and an overwhelming favorite for reelection. 50% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 34% who disapprove. That compares favorably to Joni Ernst (43/42 approval) and especially Terry Branstad (38/50) whose popularity has really been on the decline this year. Grassley has 24 point leads over all three of his potential Democratic opponents for next year- 52/28 over Bob Krause, 53/29 over Rob Hogg, and 54/30 over Tom Fiegen.

Other notes from Iowa:

-83% of voters support background checks on all gun sales, to only 9% who oppose them. That includes support from 94% of Democrats, 85% of independents, and 72% of Republicans.

-69% of voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, compared to only 14% who want to leave it where it is and 13% who’d prefer to eliminate the federal minimum wage altogether. Even among Republicans there’s 47% support for going up to $10 or more.

-62% of voters in the state support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, to only 31% who are opposed. That includes 60/32 support from independents.

-Iowa fans outnumber Iowa State fans in the state 44/25, with Northern Iowa at 8% and Drake at 2% coming in further behind when it comes to college sports loyalties in the state. Kirk Ferentz’s popularity with Hawkeye fans is unsurprisingly on the rise with 68% approving of the job he’s doing to only 10% who disapprove. That’s up from 52/15 in mid-September. Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads is headed slightly in the other direction- his 43/14 approval is down from 47/13 on our last poll.

-Iowa is Packers and Cubs country when it comes to pro sports loyalties. 20% of voters in the state say they’re Packers fans to 13% for the Vikings, 11% for the Bears, 7% for the Chiefs, and 6% each for the Cowboys and Broncos. 30% are Cubs fans to 11% for the Royals, 8% each for the Twins and Cardinals, and 5% for the Yankees.

Full results here

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