A new Des Moines Register “Iowa Poll” finds the race for Governor nearly deadlocked, with incumbent Democrat Tom Vilsack at 43 percent and republican challenger Doug Gross at 41 percent. The survey found Vilsack’s job approval rating has dropped significantly as the state’s economic woes worsened. Gross says Iowans are worse off than they were four years ago when Vilsack took office. Vilsack says economic trends are improving, as the state has record employment. He says “we appeared to have turned a significant corner here, and I think everybody has to understand that.”Vilsack says Iowans don’t “fully understand” how much better Iowa’s doing when compared to other states, where budgets are in the red, and taxes have been raised. He says as people begin to understand “the context of all of this, they’ll see that we collectively, all of us in Iowa, have done a good job of dealing with a national recession in the aftermath of September 11th.Vilsack says he’s never been ahead in an Iowa Poll, so it’s a good sign. In 1998, Vilsack trailed Jim Lightfoot in pre-election polls. In this latest poll, 12 percent of voters questioned by the Register were undecided. The Green Party’s candidate for Governor received four percent support.
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