Trump Third Party Bid Could Doom GOP in Swing State

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new general election poll in Iowa finds mixed results for Hillary Clinton. She leads 3 of the Republicans we tested against her- 46/41 over Jeb Bush, 45/42 over Carly Fiorina, and 45/43 over Donald Trump. And she also ties Ben Carson at 45. But she trails Ted Cruz 47/44 and has a larger deficit against Marco Rubio at 48/41.

Republicans really need Donald Trump to stick by his pledge not to run next year as an independent if he loses the GOP nomination. He gets 23% in a three way contest with Clinton and Rubio, and takes Clinton from trailing Rubio by 7 to leading him by 6 at 39/33. He gets 20% in a three way contest with Clinton and Cruz, and takes Clinton from trailing Cruz by 3 to leading him by 8 at 41/33. Trump running as an independent could be pretty much fatal to Republican hopes of winning next fall. 

Bernie Sanders does an average of 2 points better than Clinton in general election match ups in Iowa. He leads 5 out of 6 of the Republicans- 45/39 over Fiorina, 44/40 over Bush, 46/43 over Trump, 44/43 over Cruz, and 43/42 over Carson. The only one he trails is Rubio at 44/42.

Next year’s Senate race continues to look like a cakewalk for Chuck Grassley. He is easily the state’s most popular politician with a 53/33 approval rating compared to 42/41 for Joni Ernst and 37/48 for Terry Branstad who’s posting some of the lowest numbers of his entire time in office right now. Grassley leads all of his potential Democratic opponents by 25 points for reelection- it’s 54/29 over Tom Fiegen and Rob Hogg and 53/28 over Bob Krause.

Other notes from Iowa:

-Voters in the state are strongly supportive of both barring people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm (84/9) and requiring criminal background checks on all gun purchases (83/10). There’s strong support across party lines for both of those things with 90% of Democrats supporting each, 76-78% of Republicans supporting each, and 82-85% of independents supporting each.

-Iowans are evenly divided on the Affordable Care Act with 42% supporting it and 42% opposed. This is another sign that the ACA isn’t the landmine for Democrats politically that it used to be- since its implementation it’s become more popular and at this point it’s pretty much a wash.

-There are no hard feelings from the Big Ten championship game- Iowans are throwing their support behind Michigan State for the college football playoffs. 39% say they’re pulling for the Spartans to 14% for Oklahoma, 8% for Alabama, and 5% for Clemson. Unsurprisingly the Hawkeyes’ run did a lot for Kirk Ferentz’s standing with the fan base. In May we found he had just a 46/30 approval rating with Iowa fans, but that’s now shot all the way up to 78/4. Interestingly there hasn’t been a lot of bandwagon movement to the Hawkeyes though- they led Iowa State 43/23 in fan loyalty in the spring, and now it’s 45/23. College loyalties are probably a lot less malleable than professional ones. Cyclone fans are enthusiastic about the hiring of Matt Campbell as their new football coach- 51% say they approve of the move to just 7% who disapprove. 18% of Iowans say they’re Packers fans to 12% for the Bears, 11% for the Vikings, 10% for the Chiefs, 7% for the Broncos, and 6% for the Cowboys. Those numbers are pretty consistent with where they were at the start of the season.

-Finally we tested a head to head match up to see who Iowans like better between Stephen King the author and Steve King the Congressman but it’s a romp: Stephen beats out Steve 50/26. The Congressman does win 48/23 with Republicans, but the author wins 75/9 with Democrats and 49/22 with independents. (We’ve consistently found Rep. King to be unpopular statewide in Iowa and this was a new lens of looking at that through.)

Full results here

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