New poll results out of Iowa may have Republicans panicking across the country. In the new Des Moines Register/ Mediacom poll, Democratic Senate nominee Theresa Greenfield leads incumbent Republican Senator Joni Ernst by 3 percent. Greenfield secured 46 percent of the support from “likely” voters, while Ernst had just 43 percent of the support from the same group. Although that leading margin is within the poll’s margin of error (which is 3.5 percent for the Iowa-specific results), the numbers seem to clearly indicate that Iowa’s Senate seat is in play — even though Donald Trump won the state in 2016 by over 9 percent. What other potentially presumed Republican strongholds could flip towards the Democrats this November?
As elections analyst Nate Silver put it:
‘This feels like a little bit of a canary in the coal mine. Ernst has been considered a rising star; Iowa has trended red; she hasn’t had any particular scandals or gotten in any particular trouble. If this race is competitive, the GOP is in a lot of trouble in a lot of places.’
This feels like a little bit of a canary in the coal mine. Ernst has been considered a rising star; Iowa has trended red; she hasn't had any particular scandals or gotten in any particular trouble. If this race is competitive, the GOP is in a lot of trouble in a lot of places. https://t.co/RbXDnZvFpC
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 13, 2020
So far, the Cook Political Report rates currently GOP-held Senate seats in a full four states as toss-ups; that list includes seats in Colorado, Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina. In every state, the Democratic challenger to the Republican incumbent has had a strong showing in polls, although some more than others. Arizona Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly, for instance, leads incumbent Republican Martha McSally by an average of 9.8 percent, according to RealClearPolitics. Calling that particular race a toss-up seems generous to the Republicans.
Meanwhile, in Iowa, Greenfield’s lead is bolstered by strength with a number of groups. The Democratic candidate “leads 71% to 19% among likely voters who do not have a religious affiliation and 55% to 34% with those who live in cities,” the Des Moines Register explains, adding that Greenfield also leads among women as a whole and white women without a college degree specifically. Among women, Greenfield leads by 20 percent, with 54 percent of the support compared to a meager 34 percent for Ernst. Among white women without a college degree, Greenfield secured a staggering 60 percent of the support compared to a measly 29 percent for Ernst.
Ernst, meanwhile, leads among men, 53 percent of whom support her candidacy. The pattern of a big gap between men’s and women’s support amidst the ongoing electoral cycle carries over into the presidential election. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads among women by an average of about 25 percent, according to recent polling. Meanwhile, he’s losing to Trump among men by about 6 percent.
As J. Ann Selzer — who serves as president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the latest Des Moines Register/ Mediacom Iowa poll — put it, discussing Greenfield’s lead among women:
‘More women typically vote in elections than men. And so if there is this kind of gap, this kind of lead with the majority of voters, it’s very difficult to overcome that. Except that recently the division is strong on both sides.’
Trump and Republicans at large seem to be trying to use division for their political advantage.