Iowa is a fierce Senate and presidential battleground — but Democrats have the edge

Iowa is a fierce Senate and presidential battleground — but Democrats have the edge
Alex Henderson
Joni Ernst is struggling in Iowa’s Senate race — and Trump is a ‘huge part of her problem’: journalist

Oh man, it's been a week of brutal polling for sickly president Donald Trump and Republicans down the ballot, and this new Iowa poll, conducted by Civiqs for Daily Kos after Trump was hospitalized, is no different.

For context, remember that Trump won Iowa 51-42 in 2016.


The race is tight and can go either way, which is nothing but bad news for Trump, whose entire map is collapsing before his very eyes. As we saw in battleground polling last Thursday, before the wheels really fell off the Trump cart, Iowa is well down the list of states Biden is poised to flip—Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska's Omaha-based electoral vote, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine's rural electoral vote, and Georgia are all running ahead of Iowa.

In fact, if that order predicts the final outcome of the race, Biden will already have 351 electoral votes by the time Iowa gets tallied. The state's six electoral votes mean little in the big picture.

But politics isn't always about the big picture, as liberals have finally learned. Iowa features a critical Senate race, while all four House races are in play (Democrats currently hold three).


That is the mark of a race that hasn't budged since June, virtually preserved in amber. And for our purposes, that is okay. Ernst wasn't supposed to be vulnerable this cycle. With Republicans dominating white, rural, low-education states, and Trump having won the state easily by nine points in 2016, Iowa was supposed to be completely off the map. Instead, Democrat Theresa Greenfield has run a picture-perfect campaign, holding that small but steady lead throughout the bulk of the year.

If you wonder why Greenfield outpaces Biden slightly, it's because of independent voters. And this is why it's important for Biden to do well even in places he doesn't need to win—because the better he does, the easier it is for down-ballot candidates to cross their own finish lines.

If you're wondering how this poll compares to the rest of the public polling, The Economist's modeled polling aggregate has Trump winning 50.4 to 49.6%, or a 0.8% advantage. A +1 Biden lead is well within the polling mainstream. In the Senate race, the polling aggregate per Daily Kos Elections is Greenfield 47-43, or +4. Greenfield at +3 in this poll is, once again, within the polling mainstream.

This is a must-win Senate race. These numbers suggest that while it's still a dogfight, and will be until the bitter end, I'd rather be the Democratic Party than whatever mess of a disaster is left of the GOP.

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