A new survey of Iowa voters by a college based in Dubuque shows incumbent Governor Terry Branstad is maintaining a sizable lead over his Democratic challenger, Jack Hatch. Loras College Poll director and politics professor Christopher Budzisz says Branstad has a more than 22-point edge.

“We have (Branstad) at 55.7-percent support, compared to State Senator Jack Hatch’s 33.3-percent,” Budzisz says. The remaining 11-percent of 600 likely voters questioned for the poll said they’re either undecided or they support another candidate. Budzisz says the poll indicates this is a “static” gubernatorial race.

“No news is probably bad news for the Hatch campaign,” Budzisz says. “There’s still some time, but this is a significant lead that Governor Branstad has been able to maintain. Given differences in resources, campaign finances and the rest, it’s a difficult challenge for State Senator Hatch to topple the incumbent Governor Branstad.”

The poll found just over 15-percent of the likely voters surveyed had “never heard of” Jack Hatch. The good news for the Democrat is that figure is down from 30-percent back in June. The survey also found nearly 60-percent believe the State of Iowa is headed in the right direction. “So, I think that’s a good environment for an incumbent to be running in, when voters think the state is moving in the right direction,” Budzisz says. The Loras College Poll, which has 4-percent margin of error, was conducted last Wednesday through Friday (October 1-3).