Blum leads Vernon 50-43 percent in Iowa 1st District poll
Some observers rating race a tossup, others predicted Democratic win
James Q. Lynch
CEDAR RAPIDS — Although he’s considered the most vulnerable Republican in the U.S. House, a new poll finds Republican Rep. Rod Blum leading his Democratic challenger Monica Vernon.
Blum, a freshman from Dubuque, is leading the race 50 percent to 43 percent, according to a Polling Company poll of 400 registered voters in the 20-county northeast Iowa district that includes Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Dubuque and Waterloo.
“These numbers show that the Washington, D.C., pundits are getting this race wrong, just like they did in 2014,” said Jeff Patch, Blum campaign spokesman.
According to the Blum-commissioned poll of 400 registered 1st District voters between Aug. 14-16, he has an 18 point positive job approval rating (44 percent approve, 26 disapprove).
However, Vernon campaign manager Michelle Gajewski expects that when voters learn more about Blum’s voting record that approval rating could change.
“Congressman Blum has voted to slash Social Security, increase health care costs for seniors and to keep giving special tax breaks for corporations shipping jobs overseas,” Gajewski said. “When you vote against Iowa’s middle class, you don’t get voted back to Congress.”
The 1st District, where Democrats hold an active voter registration advantage of nearly 22,000, has been rated a “tossup” by some handicappers while others predict a Democratic pickup.
Blum won a narrow open-seat victory in 2014, defeating former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy 49.9 percent to 47.7 percent, when former Rep. Bruce Braley did not seek re-election. Brett Loyd of the Polling Co. called it “notable” that Blum has reached the 50 percent benchmark this early in the race. He concluded with less than three months until the Nov. 8 election, “Blum is poised to earn re-election.”
The poll, based on telephone interviews — 70 percent landline and 30 percent cellphones, has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
Complete results can be found at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2IlOIESo48ndFlqYzk5SDV5YkRxQXhNWXRJQ2xMSXNYYzhR/view?pref=2+&+pli=1&pref=2&pli=1