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Iowans Outlook on America Bleakest in 10 Years

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A new Rasmussen poll of 500 likely Iowa voters, conducted May 13th, finds only 11 percent of Iowans believe the country is heading in the right direction. An astounding 84 percent believe it is off on the wrong track—more than 10 points higher than the previous high during the past decade (73 percent, KCCI-TV / Research 2000, December 2007).

At the end of the Bill Clinton administration nearly ten years ago, in January 1999, 58 percent of Iowans believed the country was headed in the right direction (Iowa Poll). That number dropped off to the mid- to low 40 percent range throughout most of 2002 through 2004. By mid-2005, 36 percent of Iowans viewed the nation as heading in the right direction (SurveyUSA, July 2005). That number dropped to 31 percent in September 2006 (Iowa Poll), 28 percent in January 2007 (Iowa Poll), and 22 percent just before the Iowa Caucuses this year (KCCI-TV / Research 2000, December 2007). That number has now been sliced in half in just five months.

In general, views of the direction of the nation are normally lower than views of the direction of one's state, and both are usually lower than views on the direction of one's personal life.

In Iowa, the question in the fall will be how will voters take out their frustration on their depressed views of the country? Will it translate into electing a Democratic president? The new Rasmussen poll shows John McCain in a dead heat with Barack Obama (trailing 44 to 42 percent) and Hillary Clinton (leading 45 to 42 percent).

Or could it translate into rejecting the Democratic controlled state government? Governor Chet Culver won't be on the ballot, but he is currently enduring the lowest approval ratings of his first term—43 percent—according to a mid-April SurveyUSA poll. Democrats also control both chambers in the state legislature—having taken control of the House in the 2006 election.

Previous post: The Numbers: West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon and Beyond
Next post: Polls in KY, OR: Someone Forgot to Tell the Voters 'It's Over'

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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