The latest Quinnipiac poll for Iowa, released on Thursday, shows Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) with a significant lead against all potential Republican challengers for the state’s US Senate race. The poll also shows that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds double-digit leads against every possible GOP candidate for the 2016 Presidential election.
With Democrat Tom Harkin retiring after this term, his seat looked to be one that Republicans could potentially flip, especially since Iowa is considered a ‘swing’ state. However, this latest poll shows that Braley holds a 9-point lead on the closest Republican challenger, businessman Mark Jacobs. No other GOP contender comes within 12 points of him. Former US Attorney Mark Whitaker trails 42-30 while State Senator Joni Ernst is behind by 13 points. Conservative radio host Sam Clovis is even further back, as he trails Braley by 15 points.
What helps Braley is that Iowans actually know and identify with him. 35% have a favorable view of him while only 18% see him in a negative light. Therefore, more than half of the voters in the state actually have an opinion of him right now. Meanwhile, the vast majority of voters have no opinion of his challengers, as they do not know them. It gives Braley a big advantage heading into the election, as he is a known commodity and voters who know Braley generally like him.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton continues to hold a dominant lead in the state. While 2016 is still FAR away, the GOP looks to be struggling in their attempts to find a viable Presidential candidate. At this point, you’d think the Republicans would have two or three frontrunners that would be resonating with voters, especially in a key state like Iowa. However, with embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie no longer looking like the crossover star the Republicans envisioned a few months ago, the GOP is floundering looking for anybody that can compete with Clinton.
Currently, Christie trails Clinton by 13 points, 48-35. This is in stark contrast to a few months ago. Back in mid-December, Quinnipiac’s poll in Iowa showed voters favoring Christie by 5 points. As for the other candidates, none come within 10 points of the former First Lady. Sen Rand Paul (R-KY) trails Clinton, 49-39. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is behind by 14 points. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pulls up the rear, as he is is 16 points back.
Clinton is very popular with Iowa voters. 55% said that she’d make a good president, against only 38% who feel she would not. None of the Republican candidates scored a net positive on that question. The Republican Party has to hope for a couple of things in 2016. First off, Hillary Clinton decides not run. Second, even if they get their miracle wish granted of Clinton not running, they have to hope that a likable, appealing candidate somehow emerges for them. Tossing a reactionary, hate-peddling Tea Party candidate into the 2016 race is only going to get them crushed. That is a given.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).