In the first post-primary poll, Joni Ernst is leading Bruce Braley, her liberal Democrat opponent with a penchant for insulting farmers, 48-42. Via The Hill’s Cameron Joseph:
Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) holds a lead over Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) in the first nonpartisan poll released since Tuesday’s primary.
Ernst leads Braley by 48 percent to 42 percent, according to the live-caller poll conducted by Loras University.
The first-term state senator seems to have benefitted from the attention drawn by her primary, in which outside groups spent heavily to raise her name recognition and her opponents never hit her hard. Fully 70 percent of voters have an opinion of Ernst, more than the 60 percent who have an opinion of Braley.
President Obama, who won Iowa twice by double-digit margins, is underwater there now. His approval rating is at 43 percent, with 54 percent disapproving in the poll.
Republicans are bullish about Ernst’s chances. If they can pick off Iowa, the GOP’s chances of capturing Senate control get much better.
A second poll indicates Ernst is up by a similar margin:
Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) has a lead over Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) as they begin their general election battle, according to a new survey conducted by GOP pollster Vox Populi.
Ernst leads Braley by 49 percent to 44 percent, a flip from pre-primary polling that had found Braley in the lead.Her big primary win seems to have given Ernst a bump in the race, as did heavy spending by outside groups on her behalf. Her three primary opponents never hit hard against Ernst in the primary.
The race is one of a handful of key battles that will determine Senate control. If Ernst can maintain her newfound lead, the GOP’s chances of winning back the Senate increase greatly.
This is obviously great news, but a few words of caution are in order. First, the second poll was conducted by a GOP pollster and partisan pollsters tend to overstate the strength of their preferred candidate. Second, Joni Ernst is still basking in the afterglow of her blowout primary victory and the positive media coverage she received probably helped her performance in these two polls. That being said, Ernst has proven to be an excellent campaigner and the more Iowans get to know her, the more they like her. The key will be for her to maintain the momentum she generated last Tuesday and keep Braley on defense. Braley is, at best, a lackluster candidate who has publicly stated that he’s more interested in helping line the pockets of the tort bar than helping ordinary Iowans.
The campaign ads Joni Ernst can produce with this practically write themselves. You can support Ernst by donating to her campaign here.