DES MOINES — A new Iowa-based poll on the state’s U.S. Senate race shows Republican incumbent Chuck Grassley with a bigger lead over Democratic challenger Patty Judge than most other recent polls.
In a poll published Monday by Simpson College and RABA Research, Grassley leads Judge by 13 percentage points. Fifty percent of likely Iowa voters said they plan to vote for Grassley, and 37 percent said they plan to vote for Judge.
Most other polls have showed Grassley leading Judge by roughly 7 to 10 percentage points. RealClear Politics’ average of polls on Iowa’s U.S. Senate race shows Grassley with an average lead of 8.6 points.
Kedron Bardwell, chairman of the Simpson College political science department, said that does not necessarily mean Grassley is expanding his advantage in the race.
“I don’t know that we can infer yet a widening of the lead, regardless of which poll you’re looking at,” Bardwell said. “You want to look at where the averages are trending and wait and see for a couple more data points. ...
“For some people on the Republican side, it’s a small sigh of relief that she doesn’t seem to be mounting the kind of challenge that would be realistically enough to knock him out.”
Simpson/RABA polled 1,054 likely Iowa voters from Sept. 6-8. The poll’s margin of error is 3 percentage points.
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Grassley’s advantage in the poll is built in part on Judge’s inability to solidify support from within her own party. Ninety percent of Republican voters said they plan to vote for Grassley, while 73 percent of Democratic voters said they plan to vote for Judge, 11 percent said they will vote for Grassley and 16 percent said they are not sure.
That gives Judge room to grow her support, Bardwell said.
“If Patty Judge can consolidate her party support in the coming weeks, this race will tighten,” Bardwell said in a news release accompanying the poll. “But knocking off any longtime incumbent senator is a difficult task.”
Grassley also holds a strong advantage of 16 percentage points among no-party voters, and he leads among both men, by 19 percentage points, and women, by 8 percentage points.
RABA Research is run by Brad Anderson, a Democrat who ran President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign in Iowa and ran for Iowa Secretary of State in 2012, and Tim Albrecht, who was Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s communications director.
The same Simpson/RABA poll also tested the presidential race in Iowa and showed Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton by the slimmest of margins, 40 percent to 39 percent when third-party candidates Gary Johnson (10 percent) and Jill Stein (3 percent) were included.