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Rod Blum poll shows widening lead over Monica Vernon

Challenger says polls less reliable in cellphone era

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With voting underway and less than six weeks until Election Day, a poll commissioned by U.S. Rep. Rod Blum’s campaign shows him with a growing lead in Iowa’s 1st District.

A Polling Company survey of 400 registered voters in the 20-county 1st District found the first-term Republican leading Democratic challenger Monica Vernon by 16-points, 52 percent to 36 percent. Seventy percent of the respondents were contacted vial landlines and 30 percent by cellphone. The margin of error is 4.9 percent.

Pollster Brett Loyd said Blum’s widening lead reflected his 48 percent job approval rating while 29 percent viewed Vernon favorably. Their unfavorable ratings were similar — 24 percent for Blum, 26 percent for Vernon.

Despite Vernon’s “completely negative campaign,” Blum campaign spokesman Daniel Sunne said the Dubuque businessman “is in a strong position to be re-elected.”

It’s the third poll that has shown Blum leading despite him being considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the House. An earlier Polling Company Poll commissioned by the Blum campaign showed him leading by 50 percent to 43 percent in August. A month later, the Loras College Poll showed Blum leading Vernon 45 percent to 38 percent with 16 percent undecided. The poll had a margin of error of 5.1 percent.

Vernon didn’t comment specifically on the latest poll, but said Monday polling is less reliable today than in the past.

“Over the last few years, it’s difficult to get a good study because of the proliferation of cellphones and people who won’t answer landlines,” said Vernon, who did market research for more than a quarter of a century before selling her business to The Gazette.

“So it’s a goofy time,” she said when asked about polling in the race at a Cedar Rapids Rotary Club meeting. “There will be more noise in the system. More sway.”

For all of The Gazette's Election 2016 coverage, please visit our election coverage center.

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