I rarely call a shocking survey because, well, I do it long enough that almost nothing shocks me anymore.
But the latest numbers from Iowa – from a new Des Moines Register poll – are truly shocking.
Here they are: Longtime Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is at 46% versus Democrat Mike Franken’s 43% among the likely voters – a race to the margin of error that at least the poll suggests is a lot up for grabs with just a few weeks left in the campaign. medium term.
Now, before we go any further, it’s worth noting here that this poll, like all polls, is a) a snapshot over time and b) could be an outlier in a state that has been trending in the direction of Republicans over the past few years. elections.
But – and that’s a big BUT – is the Des Moines Register pollster J. Ann Selzer. And no one – and I mean no one – has been right about elections in the last decade and a half more often than she has.
Writing about Selzer in a 2015 profile, Politico puts it like this:
“At a time when confidence in public polls is eroded after high-profile election failures across the country and around the world, people in Iowa still have confidence that a woman can accurately measure where things stand in the world. unstable caucuses of next year “.
And in early 2016, the New York Times wrote about the Des Moines Register poll:
“[I]It has one of the most impressive results in polls: it nails the results even when many other polls predict a different result. “
Selzer made a name for herself in 2008 when her poll showed Barack Obama leading the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses, which he later won. And between then and now, she too has been right over and over again.
(FiveThirtyEight gives pollsters votes based in part on the accuracy of their past performance. Selzer scores an “A +”.)
So what does it give here? The Iowa is not a breed that neither party has said much about to date. Grassley, 89, is an institution in Iowa and will run for an extraordinary 8th term next month. (In the Des Moines Register poll, 60 percent of likely voters said Grassley’s age was a concern, while 34 percent said his longevity was an asset to Iowa.) He didn’t win less. 60% of the vote in a general election in four decades, despite the occasional National Democrats pitching him a challenger.
Franken was by no means discussed by the National Democrats, although he managed to stay competitive with Grassley in fundraising and even outclassed him in the last quarter. From early July to late September, Franken raised $ 3.6 million and spent $ 3.4 million, leaving him with $ 1.3 million on hand. Meanwhile, Grassley raised $ 2 million, spent $ 2.1 million, and had $ 3.9 million in the bank for the final leg of the race.
The point: If Grassley is truly in danger, the Democrats have another way to keep the Senate majority this fall. If not, the poll still causes Republicans some heartburn that they don’t need as they try to walk a very narrow road back to the majority.