A poll conducted in mid-June finds not much has changed since March in the race for governor.
Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s lead over Democratic challenger Jack Hatch in the Quinnipiac University’s new poll is nine percent, compared to Branstad’s 11 point lead in March. Peter Brown, assistant director of the poll, says that’s a “statistically insignificant” change.
“Voters like the governor. He’s got a solid job approval rating, but there are many who think that he’s perhaps been there too long,” Brown says. “That would be an opening against a potentially strong candidate, but at this point Mr. Hatch has not been able to demonstrate to enough voters who he is and what he stands for.”
Branstad’s job approval rating is 54 percent, but 48 percent of those surveyed said he deserves reelection. Brown says Hatch isn’t making much headway in introducing himself to voters, as about two-thirds of the Iowans surveyed said they didn’t know enough about Hatch to form an opinion.
“Optimists will say, ‘Well, that means he still has two-thirds of the electorate that is open to him,’ and that is true,” Brown says. “Pessimists will say, ‘He’s doing a poor job getting out who he is and what he stands for.'”
Hatch also trails Branstad by double-digits among independent voters, which is the largest voting block in Iowa. Three-quarters of the Iowans surveyed said Iowa’s economy is in “excellent” or “good” shape.
“And that’s a good thing for the governor,” Brown says. “History is not replete with examples of governors whose constituents were decidely happy with things going on in their state and who lost reelection.”
Brown points to another piece of data in the poll: 70 percent of likely voters surveyed said they think Branstad is a strong leader. That’s an “astounding” number, according to Brown. The poll was conducted from June 12th through the 16th and has a margin of error of 2.7 percent.