October 15, 2014 - Shift By Independents Leaves Iowa Senate Race Close, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Branstad Up 15 Points In Governor's Race Quinnipiac University Polling Logo
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Independent likely voters shift to the Democratic column, leaving the Iowa U.S. Senate race too close to call with 47 percent for Republican State Sen. Joni Ernst and 45 percent for U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democrat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 50 - 44 percent likely voter lead for Sen. Ernst in a September 17 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University.

Today's results show independent voters backing Rep. Braley 48 - 43 percent, a shift from Ernst's 50 - 43 percent lead among these key voters last month. Republicans back Ernst 95 - 2 percent, compared to 87 - 7 percent last month. Democrats go to Braley 89 - 7 percent, compared to 90 - 7 percent September 17.

The reverse gender gap widens as women back the Democratic man 52 - 39 percent, up from 50 - 44 percent last month, while men back the Republican woman 56 - 38 percent, virtually unchanged from 56 - 39 percent in September.

Braley leads 51 - 37 percent among those who already have voted.

Three weeks before Election Day, 89 percent of Iowa likely voters who name a Senate candidate say their mind is made up, while 10 percent say they might change their mind.

"The Iowa Senate race, which could be key to control of the U.S. Senate, is too close to call and likely will remain close all the way to Election Day," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll.

"Independent voters have made a 12-point left turn in four weeks, going from 50 - 43 percent for State Sen. Joni Ernst to 48 - 43 percent for U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley.

"The gender gap in this race for Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat is larger than the wide Missouri."

"But the twist that makes this Senate race one of the most interesting, in addition to being among the tightest and most important in the country, is the reverse gender gap," Brown added.

"Women are forsaking their sister because she is a Republican. Meanwhile, men are voting for the women candidate by an even larger margin for the same reason. Voters are choosing partisanship over gender when it comes to making their ballot choice."

By a 47 - 41 percent margin, Iowa likely voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst. Braley gets a split score, with 42 percent favorable and 44 percent unfavorable.

Governor's Race

In his race for reelection, Iowa's long-time governor, Terry Branstad, has a 54 - 39 percent likely voter lead over State Sen. Jack Hatch, the Democratic challenger.

This compares to a 60 - 37 percent likely voter lead for Gov. Branstad in a September 18 Quinnipiac University poll.

Today, women are divided with 47 percent for Branstad and 45 percent for Hatch. The governor has a 61 - 32 percent lead among men. He leads 95 - 3 among Republicans and 57 - 33 percent among independent voters. Democrats go to Hatch 84 - 13 percent.

Hatch is ahead 50 - 37 percent among those who already have voted.

Their mind is made up, 89 percent of voters who name a candidate say, while 10 percent say they might change their mind.

Branstad gets a 56 - 34 percent favorability rating, compared to Hatch's 33 - 28 percent score, with 36 percent who don't know enough about him to form an opinion.

"The big question in the governor's race doesn't involve who is going to win," Brown said. "It's how large will Gov. Terry Branstad's margin be, and perhaps most significantly, will Gov. Branstad have coattails that might help Ernst across the finish line?

From October 8 - 13, Quinnipiac University surveyed 967 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa and the nation as a public service and for research.

For more information, visit http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter @QuinnipiacPoll.

1. If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Jack Hatch the Democrat and Terry Branstad the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) If you had to choose today, would you vote for Hatch or Branstad? (Table includes leaners and early voters)
                     LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                               Already
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Voted
 
Hatch                39%     3%    84%    33%    32%    45%    50%
Branstad             54     95     13     57     61     47     37
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1      -      -      2      1      1      2
DK/NA                 6      2      3      9      6      7     11
 
TREND: If the election for Governor were being held today, and the candidates were Jack Hatch the Democrat and Terry Branstad the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) If you had to choose today, would you vote for Hatch or Branstad? (Table includes leaners)
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Oct 15  Sep 18
                     2014    2014
 
Hatch                39      37
Branstad             54      60
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       1       1
DK/NA                 6       3
 
 
1a. (If candidate chosen q1) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS................
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q1..........
                            CANDIDATE OF CHOICE Q1
                     Tot    Hatch  Branstad
 
Mind made up         89%    90%    89%
Might change         10     10     11
DK/NA                 -      -      -
 
TREND: (If candidate chosen) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN
                     Oct 15  Sep 18
                     2014    2014
 
Mind made up         89      82
Might change         10      18
DK/NA                 -       -
 
 
2. Is your opinion of Jack Hatch favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                               Already
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Voted
 
Favorable            33%     8%    68%    27%    28%    38%    46%
Unfavorable          28     54      3     27     34     22     26
Hvn't hrd enough     36     35     28     42     36     36     26
REFUSED               3      4      1      3      2      4      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Jack Hatch favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Oct 15  Sep 18
                     2014    2014
 
Favorable            33      29
Unfavorable          28      26
Hvn't hrd enough     36      44
REFUSED               3       1
 
 
3. Is your opinion of Terry Branstad favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                               Already
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Voted
 
Favorable            56%    95%    20%    57%    60%    51%    50%
Unfavorable          34      1     71     31     30     39     39
Hvn't hrd enough      7      2      7      9      9      6     10
REFUSED               3      1      2      4      2      3      2
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Terry Branstad favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Oct 15  Sep 18
                     2014    2014
 
Favorable            56      59
Unfavorable          34      33
Hvn't hrd enough      7       7
REFUSED               3       1
 
 
4. If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Bruce Braley the Democrat and Joni Ernst the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) If you had to choose today, would you vote for Braley or Ernst? (Table includes leaners and early voters)
                     LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                               Already
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Voted
 
Braley               45%     2%    89%    48%    38%    52%    51%
Ernst                47     95      7     43     56     39     37
SMONE ELSE(VOL)       3      -      2      3      2      4      3
DK/NA                 5      3      2      6      4      5      8
 
TREND: If the election for United States Senator were being held today, and the candidates were Bruce Braley the Democrat and Joni Ernst the Republican, for whom would you vote? (If undecided) If you had to choose today, would you vote for Braley or Ernst? (Table includes leaners)
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Oct 15  Sep 17
                     2014    2014
 
Braley               45      44
Ernst                47      50
SOMEONE ELSE(VOL)     3       1
DK/NA                 5       4
 
 
4a. (If candidate chosen q4) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS................
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN Q4..........
                            CANDIDATE OF CHOICE Q4
                     Tot    Braley Ernst
 
Mind made up         89%    88%    90%
Might change         10     12      9
DK/NA                 -      -      -
 
TREND: (If candidate chosen) Is your mind made up, or do you think you might change your mind before the election?
                     LIKELY VOTERS...
                     CANDIDATE CHOSEN
                     Oct 15  Sep 17
                     2014    2014
 
Mind made up         89      84
Might change         10      15
DK/NA                 -       1
 
 
5. Is your opinion of Bruce Braley favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                               Already
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Voted
 
Favorable            42%     7%    82%    42%    37%    48%    48%
Unfavorable          44     81      8     42     51     37     37
Hvn't hrd enough     13     12      9     14     12     14     14
REFUSED               1      -      2      1      1      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Bruce Braley favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about him?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Oct 15  Sep 17
                     2014    2014
 
Favorable            42      38
Unfavorable          44      41
Hvn't hrd enough     13      20
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
6. Is your opinion of Joni Ernst favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                               Already
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Voted
 
Favorable            47%    88%     9%    44%    55%    39%    40%
Unfavorable          41      3     83     41     33     50     48
Hvn't hrd enough     11      8      7     14     12     10     10
REFUSED               1      -      1      1      -      2      1
 
TREND: Is your opinion of Joni Ernst favorable, unfavorable or haven't you heard enough about her?
                     LIKELY VOTERS
                     Oct 15  Sep 17
                     2014    2014
 
Favorable            47      45
Unfavorable          41      39
Hvn't hrd enough     11      15
REFUSED               1       1
 
 
7. Do you think abortion should be legal in all cases, legal in most cases, illegal in most cases or illegal in all cases?
                     LIKELY VOTERS....................................
                                                               Already
                     Tot    Rep    Dem    Ind    Men    Wom    Voted
 
Legal all cases      22%     6%    42%    20%    16%    29%    23%
Legal most cases     32     24     39     35     35     28     30
Illegal most cases   25     41      8     27     29     22     27
Illegal all cases    13     23      4     11     12     13     11
DK/NA                 8      7      6      7      8      9      9
 
 

Demographic Summary