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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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