News & Politics

Unpopular GOP Incumbents Are Struggling in Iowa — And That's a Bad Sign for Trump's Republican Party

Democrats are potentially poised to make big gains in a state Trump won handily.

Rep. Rod Blum (Congress)

On Monday, a new Emerson College poll suggested prominent Republicans in Iowa could be in serious danger this fall.

The poll shows Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds down 31 to 37 against Democratic challenger and Fred Hubbell, while Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa's 1st Congressional District is lagging 38 to 43 against state Rep. Abby Finkenauer. The state's other three congressmen, Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack and GOP Reps. David Young and Steve King, are currently ahead by double digits.

Iowa voted for President Donald Trump by a 9.4 point margin in 2016, a greater margin than Texas. But his ratings among registered voters are now underwater there, and his unpopularity is not helped by his nonsensical tariffs that are making it harder for farmers to sell their crops.

Furthermore, the incumbents themselves are not popular either, and face formidable opponents with powerful messages to voters.

Reynolds, who took over as governor after Terry Branstad was appointed ambassador to China, has approval ratings in the low 40s. She is an anti-choice extremist who has faced controversy over her lack of press openness. Hubbell, a businessman and former regional Planned Parenthood chair, is opposing her on a platform of ending Medicaid privatization and improving public education.

Blum, meanwhile, has been bombarded with ads reminding Iowans of his votes for repealing Obamacare and cutting taxes for billionaires, and faces an ethics investigation in the House for failing to disclose a company he founded while in office that helps bury negative news about other businesses. Finkenauer is challenging him on a platform that includes environmental protection, women's rights, and immigration reform.

The Cook Political Report rates the governor's race as a Toss Up and the 1st Congressional District as Leans Democratic.

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Matthew Chapman is a video game designer, science fiction author, and political reporter from Austin, TX. Follow him on Twitter @fawfulfan.