GOP Sen. Grassley’s Re-Election Chances Take A Nosedive

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According to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa survey, a majority of Iowans hope that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who’s been in office in various capacities for decades, decides against running for re-election in the 2022 midterm elections. Grassley has indicated that he’ll decide on whether or not to run for re-election sometime this fall, giving him or whoever decides to run in his absence about a year to prepare for Election Day. In the meantime, a full 55 percent of the overall Iowa poll respondents said that they hope Grassley doesn’t run for re-election. Only 28 percent of the overall respondents hoped Grassley runs again.

Among overall respondents, a full 17 percent said that they were unsure about their opinion on a potential Grassley re-election campaign. Among Republicans in particular, 35 percent said that they hope Grassley does not run for re-election, while 50 percent — hardly a resounding coalition — said that they hope he does run again. A full 15 percent of Republican respondents indicated that they were unsure of their opinion on a potential Grassley 2022 bid.

Grassley’s numbers among independents in particular run pretty close to his numbers among overall respondents. In the survey, just 27 percent of independent respondents said that they hoped Grassley runs again, while 54 percent of independents — a majority — indicated that they hoped he leaves office. Iowa, though, has a substantial history of statewide Republican leadership, although Tom Harkin, who occupied Iowa’s other Senate seat before retiring from office in 2015, was a Democrat.

J. Ann Selzer, president of the well-regarded polling firm Selzer & Co., which conducted the new Iowa survey, commented as follows discussing Grassley’s chances:

‘I can almost feel the tension as Republican respondents are dealing with it. He’s the most popular senator since the inception of the Iowa Poll and probably the closest thing to a sure bet that they would have for the party.’

In the recent Iowa survey, Grassley garnered his lowest approval rating in almost 40 years. At times over the years, Grassley’s level of job approval among the general public in Iowa has surpassed 70 percent, but in the most recent survey, just 48 percent of overall respondents said that they approved of Grassley’s job performance.

Five Republican Senators have already announced that they’re not running for re-election, but not all are in states that seem poised for a potential swing. Pat Toomey, for instance, is retiring from his Pennsylvania Senate seat, and Biden just won Pennsylvania in the 2020 general election, and the state’s other Senator is already a Democrat. In contrast, Missouri Senator Roy Blunt is retiring from his seat, but Trump won Missouri by over 15 percent in 2020.