Some recent polls show Donald Trump edging out in front of Hillary Clinton in Iowa. Drake University political science professor Rachel Caufield says there seem to be “after effects” of Clinton’s battle with Bernie Sanders.
“The public conversation has not been fully attentive to exactly how divisive the Democratic primary process really was,” Caufield says.
The Iowa Caucuses help develop a “vast network” of activists who have strong opinions, according to Caufield.
“When you have…this intensely local organizing structure where different ideological stripes can find a home, I think what that means is it is somewhat harder to unify when it comes time to say: ‘This is our person,'” Caufield says.
A RABA Research poll released Monday found Trump leading Clinton by one point in Iowa. On Friday, analyst Nate Silver of the FiveThirtyEight blog gave Trump a nearly 62 percent chance of winning Iowa. Professor Caufield says Iowa is among the “most competitive” swing states in the country, but Clinton has ground to make up.
“That divide in the Democratic Party, it means there are a lot of Democrats out there that are simply not enthused by the top of the ticket,” she says.
Brad Anderson was the state director of President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign and he endorsed Clinton before the Iowa Caucuses.
“Polling is addictive…Like all addictive products, like tobacco, it should come with a warning, that this is just a snapshot in time,” Anderson says.
Anderson is now a partner in RABA Research. The bipartisan firm released a poll this past week showing Trump leading Clinton by a point in Iowa.
“There’s still a lot of time left on the clock,” Anderson says.
Anderson says Trump has a significant lead over Clinton among non-college-educated voters who feel “left behind” in this economy.
“President Obama really hasn’t gotten engaged in this campaign yet and that’s going to change,” Anderson says. “I think we’re going to see him come to Iowa and make the case for why people who are concerned about income inequality should support Secretary Clinton.”
John Stineman, a Des Moines-based consultant, managed the Iowa Caucus campaign for Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes 16 years ago.
“Polling is certainly changing,”Stineman says, “and rapidly.”
Stineman says the data shows Trump, not Clinton, seems to be consolidating support among the party faithful.
“The assumption coming out of the conventions was that was going to be more of a challenge for Donald Trump and that was going to be something that Hillary Clinton would have in the bag,” Stineman says. “The numbers that I’ve been seeing show that actually the inverse is true and that trump has brought home many more Republicans than expected and Hillary’s actually struggling to bring home her base.”
Stineman says Trump is a candidate who — unlike previous Republican nominees — seems to be “tapping into” a more important voting block in Iowa: independents.
“If the independent voters are ripe for the taking for Trump and there’s a bigger pool here — there are more registered independents in Iowa than there are for either party — that’s an interesting dynamic for Trump where he can more than make up for any kind of base enthusiasm issue he might have with your more business-oriented Republicans who aren’t fans of his policies,” Stineman says.
Stineman, Anderson and Caufield made their comments during recent appearances on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.
Democratic Party vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is due to campaign in Ames on Monday. Mike Pence, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, will campaign in Mason City the same day.