Tags: Iowa | Senate | Ernst | Braley

Bolstered by Independents, Ernst Holds 3-Point Lead in Iowa

By    |   Monday, 27 October 2014 09:43 AM

Republican Joni Ernst continues to hold a slim lead over Democrat Bruce Braley in the Senate contest in Iowa, according to the latest NBC News/Marist University poll.

Ernst's 49 percent to 46 percent lead over Braley is one point larger than a poll earlier this month, which showed her advantage at 46 percent to 44 percent among likely voters.

Ernst’s 3-point lead over Braley is due, in part, to her 8-point edge among independent voters which is unchanged since the last Marist poll.

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Braley has a lead among those who have voted early (52 percent to 47 percent), but Ernst makes up the difference because she holds a 49 percent to 46 percent advantage among likely voters who are undecided but leaning toward a candidate. She also holds a larger advantage among those who are still expected to cast a ballot (50 percent to 43 percent).

“The campaigns have taken a toll on both senate candidates who have unusually high negatives for non-incumbents,” Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said in a statement. “The GOP is chomping at the bit over the prospect of picking up a Senate seat the Democrats have held for 30 years in a state President Obama carried twice.”

The toll can be seen in the decline in the level of support each has among men and women. While Braley has a five-point lead among women, his support is down 11 points from earlier this month. Ernst, on the other hand, has seen her 18-point advantage among men fall to 12 percent.

Since late June, more than 57,000 ads totaling $27.7 million have been aired in the Senate race alone, according to the Des Moines Register.

And that figure could top $40 million, according to the Sioux City Journal.

Ernst's campaign added to that number on Sunday, releasing a spot, “Difference,” focused on her service as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard.

"Everyone who wears our nation’s uniform values the rights and freedoms we have here in the United States. As Iowa’s next U.S. Senator, I will fight for those Iowa values and a new direction in Washington," she says in the ad, which also invokes the threat of ISIS.

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One of the reasons for the high volume of ads is the importance of the race in the overall campaign for control of the Senate.

"If Republicans win [Iowa], then they can afford to lose Georgia and Kansas and win the majority without pulling off an unexpected victory in New Hampshire or North Carolina. It’s no mistake that Republican Joni Ernst’s chance of winning in Iowa, 66 percent, is nearly the same as the 64 percent chance Republicans have at taking back the Senate," writes Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.

In addition to hitting the airwaves, both candidates are trying to mobilize their base voters on statewide tours.

Last Thursday, Ernst held a rally with GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley to mark the conclusion of her 99-county “Iowa Knows Best” RV tour which included 112 stops in 39 days, according to the Ernst campaign.

On Sunday, Braley set off on his own statewide tour to highlight middle class issues as part of the Iowa Democratic Party’s #99in24 Tour — a 24-hour tour of all 99 Iowa counties that will conclude with a Davenport event with Vice President Joe Biden, according to Braley's campaign.

Braley also will welcome former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the state on Oct. 29.

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Republican Joni Ernst continues to hold a slim lead over Democrat Bruce Braley in the Senate contest in Iowa, according to the latest NBC News/Marist University poll.
Iowa, Senate, Ernst, Braley
Monday, 27 October 2014 09:43 AM
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