Iowa Miscellany

| Tom Jensen

-Iowa voters are strongly opposed to Governor Branstad’s proposal to privatize Medicaid. Just 22% of voters are in support of it, with a 52% majority against. Both Democrats (7/78) and independents (25/49) are firmly against it and even Republicans (36/26) are only narrowly in favor. This is proving to be a very unpopular initiative.

-Voters are even more firm in their opposition to Branstad’s proposal to close the state’s mental health facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. Just 12% favor that to 68% who are opposed. On that issue there is a pretty clear bipartisan consensus- Democrats (5/84), independents (12/69), and Republicans (19/50) are all opposed to their closure.

-Chuck Grassley continues to easily be Iowa’s most popular politician. 53% of voters approve of the job he’s doing to 32% who disapprove. Voters are much more divided on the state’s other two major statewide leaders- Terry Branstad’s approval comes in at 44/44 and Joni Ernst’s at 40/41. The second most popular statewide political figure we tested in the state is former Governor Tom Vilsack who comes in at 48/34. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds is largely unknown with 56% of voters saying they have no opinion about her- those who do have one are evenly divided in their assessments with 22% rating her positively and 22% negatively.

-Neither of the state’s 2 new members of Congress are setting the world on fire. Rod Blum has a 31/31 favorability rating in his district, with a 38% plurality having no opinion one way or the other. David Young is worse off with a 24/35 favorability rating and 41% having no opinion about him. Both of these folks’ fate will probably be up to which way the political winds are blowing next fall. Dave Loebsack has solid numbers in his district- 44% see him favorably and 35% unfavorably. Steve King is an unpopular figure on a statewide basis- only 30% of voters have a positive view of him to 41% with a negative one. But he breaks even in his own district at 41/41, which has been good enough to keep getting him reelected.

-For the first time PPP finds a majority of Iowans in support of gay marriage- 50% support it to only 41% who are opposed. In late 2011 those numbers were almost reversed with 41% in support of it and 48% opposed. Every age group except seniors supports it and even with them favor for gay marriage has hit the 40% mark.  80% of voters in the state say that gay marriage being legal has either had a positive impact on their lives or none at all, with only 20% claiming it’s had a negative impact. Even among the minority of voters who remain opposed to gay marriage, 55% admit it hasn’t actually had any dire effect on their lives.

-Iowans support increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by a 57/32 spread. Democrats are almost unanimously in favor of it (85/9), a strong majority of independents are (54/33), and almost a third of Republicans are as well (31/55).

-Iowa clearly wins out on college sports loyalties in the state with 43% to 23% for Iowa State, 9% for Northern Iowa, and 3% for Drake. Hawkeye fans are getting pretty restless with football coach Kirk Ferentz- only 46% approve of the job he’s doing to 30% who disapprove. Those numbers are way down from last March when we found him with a 60/13 spread. Fran McCaffrey is considerably more popular- he has a 65/10 approval, little changed from his 64% approval last year. 

Iowa State fans are becoming less and less supportive of their football coach while loving their basketball coach as well. Paul Rhoads comes in at a 48/12 approval spread, down from 68/7 around this time last year. And no one’s more popular than Fred Hoiberg- 74% of Cyclones fans think he’s doing a good job with only 2% disapproving.

-Iowa remains Cubs country- 26% of voters in the state say that’s where their MLB loyalties lie to 11% for the Twins, 9% for the Cardinals, 7% for the Royals, 4% for the Yankees, and 3% each for the Red Sox, White Sox, and Brewers.

-And finally 74% of Iowans have a favorable opinion of corn to 9% who have an unfavorable opinion. Although that is impressive Iowans do not like corn as much as Wisconsin voters like cheese, which we found had an 80/5 favorability rating last month.

Full results here

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