Poll: GOP Senate Hopefuls Trail in Iowa

Thursday, 13 Mar 2014 05:31 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley holds a double-digit lead over a crowded field of little-known GOP contenders for the Senate seat left by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, a new Quinnipiac poll released Thursday showed.

Braley leads his nearest possible competitor, former energy company CEO Mark Jacobs, 40 percent to 31 percent, according to the poll.

The Quad-City Times reported Jacobs has advertised on radio and TV more than other GOP hopefuls hoping to run for five-term veteran Harkin's seat.

The survey also showed Braley ahead of former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker 42 percent to 30 percent; leading state Sen. Joni Ernst 42 percent to 29 percent, and holding a 42 percent to 27 percent lead over college professor and radio commentator Sam Clovis.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

"The curse of President Obama's low approval does not seem to be hurting U.S. Rep. Braley as he campaigns for the U.S. Senate seat which opens up as Sen. Tom Harkin retires," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll.

The survey noted, however, voters don't seem to know the GOP contenders; 77 to 85 percent of voters don't know enough about the candidates to form an opinion.

The GOP contenders and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have been hammering Braley for his support of Obamacare.

"Mr. Braley continues to support the failed policy of Obamacare, despite the known negative impacts," Jacobs said at a Wednesday campaign stop, the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier reported.

"He voted for Obamacare, which will fund itself through cuts to Medicate Advantage, harming our seniors."

The NRSC charged cuts in the popular Medicare Advantage plan for seniors "directly result from Braley’s support for Obamacare, which takes $206 billion from Medicare Advantage."

Ernst has also taken a shot at Braley's association with Obamacare — but is also touting her conservative credentials, the newspaper noted.

"What I see happening right now is Bruce Braley and his allies are trying to take the Washington bureaucracy and replace our Iowa values with that bureaucracy," she said. "I am not going to let that happen."

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