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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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Political Crumbs

Strike Three for Miller-Meeks

Iowa Republicans had a banner day on November 4th, picking up both a U.S. Senate seat and one U.S. House seat, but Mariannette Miller-Meeks' defeat in her third attempt to oust Democrat Dave Loebsack in the 2nd CD means the GOP will not have a monopoly on the state's congressional delegation in the 114th Congress. The loss by Miller-Meeks (following up her defeats in 2008 and 2010) means major party nominees who lost their first two Iowa U.S. House races are now 0 for 10 the third time around in Iowa history. Miller-Meeks joins Democrat William Leffingwell (1858, 1868, 1870), Democrat Anthony Van Wagenen (1894, 1912 (special), 1912), Democrat James Murtagh (1906, 1914, 1916), Democrat Clair Williams (1944, 1946, 1952), Democrat Steven Carter (1948, 1950, 1956), Republican Don Mahon (1966, 1968, 1970), Republican Tom Riley (1968, 1974, 1976), Democrat Eric Tabor (1986, 1988, 1990), and Democrat Bill Gluba (1982, 1988, 2004) on the Hawkeye State's Three Strikes list.


Larry Pressler Wins the Silver

Larry Pressler may have fallen short in his long-shot, underfunded, and understaffed bid to return to the nation's upper legislative chamber, but he did end up notching the best showing for a non-major party South Dakota U.S. Senate candidate in more than 90 years. Pressler won 17.1 percent of the vote which is the best showing for an independent or third party U.S. Senate candidate in the state since 1920 when non-partisan candidate Tom Ayres won 24.1 percent in a race won by Republican Peter Norbeck. Overall, Pressler's 17.1 percent is good for the second best mark for a non-major party candidate across the 35 U.S. Senate contests in South Dakota history. Independent and third party candidates have appeared on the South Dakota U.S. Senate ballot just 25 times over the last century and only three have reached double digits: Pressler in 2014 and Ayres in 1920 and 1924 (12.1 percent). Pressler's defeat means he won't become the oldest candidate elected to the chamber in South Dakota history nor notch the record for the longest gap in service in the direct election era.


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