Tags: | Iowa | Senate | Ernst | Braley

'Reverse Gender Gap' Emerges in Dead Heat Iowa Senate Race

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 12:50 PM

With just 20 days to go until the November midterm elections, the race between Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican challenger state Sen. Joni Ernst has drawn nail-bitingly close.

A new Quinnipiac University poll shows Ernst hanging on to a thin two-point lead over Braley, 47 to 45 percent. Ernst had built a six-point lead in the previous poll, taken in mid-September.

The National Journal reports that Ernst also dropped from a six-point lead in a Des Moines Register poll to a single-digit percentage lead.

The race has been earmarked by oddities, not the least of which is a "reverse gender gap" in which women, said to be put off by Ernst's conservatism, are backing Braley by 52-39 percent, an increase from 50-44 percent in mid-September, while men are backing Ernst by 56-38 percent, virtually unchanged from the 56-39 percent Ernst enjoyed among male voters in mid-September.

"The twist that makes this Senate race one of the most interesting, in addition to being among the tightest and most important in the country, is the reverse gender gap," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll, said.

"Women are forsaking their sister because she is a Republican. Meanwhile, men are voting for the woman candidate by an even larger margin for the same reason. Voters are choosing partisanship over gender when it comes to making their ballot choice."

One explanation for Ernst's slide may be the sudden shift in independent voters, who are backing Braley by 48-43 percent, a dramatic change from Ernst's 50-43 percent advantage among independents in September, the survey found.

"Independent voters have made a 12-point left turn in four weeks," Brown said.

Among those who have already voted, Braley leads Ernst by 51-37 percent.

Both parties are sending in heavy hitters to help capture the seat, which could be crucial in Republicans' attempt to take over the majority in the Senate. Michelle Obama and Sen. Elizabeth Warren are stumping for Braley and former presidential contender Mitt Romney appeared for Ernst.

The Quinnipiac poll, conducted Oct. 8-13, has a margin of error of 3.2 points, greater than Ernst's lead, again demonstrating that the election could go either way.

"The Iowa Senate race…is too close to call and likely will remain close all the way to election day," Brown said.

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With just 20 days to go until the November midterm elections, the race between Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican challenger state Sen. Joni Ernst has drawn nail-bitingly close.
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2014-50-15
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 12:50 PM
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