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Smart Politics Projections: Federal Races in Iowa

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Through November 3rd, Smart Politics will be running a series of electoral projections for Upper Midwestern federal and state governmental contests. The first projections in the series are federal races in the State of Iowa.

Iowa: President.
Barack Obama has never trailed John McCain in three-dozen non-partisan polls taken of Iowans dating back to December 2006. Iowa has temporarily shed its battleground state status in this election cycle, with Obama seeking to register the second largest Democratic victory in a presidential race in Iowa since 1936, and the third largest Democratic victory in Hawkeye State history. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Pick-up (from 2004).

Iowa: U.S. Senate.
Tom Harkin has enjoyed approval ratings above 50 percent in nearly four-dozen public opinion polls conducted this decade – with ratings averaging in the mid-50s during the past year. While not quite as popular as his Republican counterpart Charles Grassley, Harkin will breeze to his fifth consecutive Senate victory by double-digits. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-01.
Bruce Braley has more than the incumbency advantage on his side in his first defense of his U.S. House seat. Braley’s 1st Congressional District has been a strong supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential bid throughout his campaign, which should give the freshman Representative an additional boost down the ticket. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-02.
If popular, moderate 15-term GOP incumbent Jim Leach could not defeat David Loebsack in 2006, it is hard to imagine what Republican candidate would stand a better chance against Loebsack this year, given the current political environment. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-03.
Having captured and held the 3rd Congressional District (and the lone Democratic seat) during the height of the Republican Party’s popularity in the Hawkeye State in the mid- and late 1990s, Blue Dog Democrat Leonard Boswell will do his part to insure Iowa will send a Democratic majority-led congressional delegation back to D.C. for a second consecutive session for the first time since 1974-1976. Smart Politics Projection: Democratic Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-04.
The north-central region of the Hawkeye State has voted Republican in U.S. House contests in each race for the last two decades, and provided Tom Latham with six consecutive double-digit victories. Representing the more vulnerable of Iowa’s two Republican-held House seats, should a Democratic landslide take place on November 4th, Latham will nonetheless return to D.C. for an eighth term. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold.

Iowa: U.S. House-05.
Steve King represents the most conservative and reliably Republican district in the Hawkeye State: in 2004, George W. Bush carried 27 of the 28 counties comprising the 5th District. King’s return to D.C. for a 4th term will continue the streak of at least one Republican representing Iowa in the U.S. House in every year since 1856. Smart Politics Projection: Republican Hold.

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Remains of the Data

Strange Bedfellows: A Historical Review of Divided US Senate Delegations

Over the last century, states have been twice as likely to be represented by a single political party in the U.S. Senate than have a split delegation; only Delaware, Iowa, and Illinois have been divided more than half the time.

Political Crumbs

Haugh to Reach New Heights

The North Carolina U.S. Senate race between Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan and Republican Thom Tillis may go down to the wire next Tuesday, but along the way Libertarian nominee Sean Haugh is poised to set a state record for a non-major party candidate. Haugh, who previously won 1.5 percent of the vote in the Tar Heel State's 2002 race, has polled at or above five percent in 10 of the last 12 polls that included his name. The current high water mark for a third party or independent candidate in a North Carolina U.S. Senate election is just 3.3 percent, recorded by Libertarian Robert Emory back in 1992. Only one other candidate has eclipsed the three percent mark - Libertarian Christopher Cole with 3.1 percent in 2008.


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).


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