A new poll of Iowa released on Monday shows that Donald Trump is virtually tied with former Vice President Joe Biden in a state he won by nine points in 2016.
The gold-standard Des Moines Register Poll shows Trump and Biden neck-and-neck at 44 percent to 43 percent, respectively.
#New Iowa Poll:
— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) June 16, 2020
“The results — which come in the midst of a pandemic and widespread civil unrest — are among a wave of polling that indicates an increasingly unstable electoral map for the president,” the Des Moines Register reports. “States like Iowa that were expected to be safe territory for him after clear wins in 2016 now appear to be battlegrounds in 2020.”
The results represent a major shift from the same Iowa poll conducted in March, which had Trump leading Biden 51 percent to 41 percent.
The president’s decline comes as his approval rating in the state has gone underwater in recent months, with just 45 percent of Iowans approving of his job performance and 52 percent disapproving.
While the survey showed a virtual tie, pollster J. Ann Selzer noted that the political landscape in Iowa appears to be similar to 2018, which is good news for Biden and Democrats.
“Having come out of 2018 (when Democrats flipped two congressional seats) and now, with these dynamics and the popularity of these Democratic candidates, including Theresa Greenfield, it creates a mood that feels more favorable to Democrats statewide,” she said.
Why a tie race in Iowa spells major electoral trouble for Trump
As CNN’s Harry Enten pointed out after the poll’s release on Monday, a near-tie in Iowa is consistent with recent national polling that shows Biden leading Trump by high single digits or low double digits.
Also notable that this is poll is consistent with a high single to low double-digit national lead for Biden…
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) June 15, 2020
In 2016, Clinton won the popular vote by just over two percentage points, while losing Iowa by nine points. That means Iowa was about 11 points more pro-Trump than the rest of the country.
If that spread holds this November and Trump only wins Iowa by a single digit, it would effectively translate to a 10-point popular vote win for Biden. That would be a disaster for Trump not only nationally but – more importantly – in other midwestern states that are much more competitive than Iowa.
If Donald Trump wants to win a second term in the White House, he’s going to have to win Iowa by a lot more than one point. Right now, he clearly isn’t.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.