Grassley regains double-digit lead in Iowa Poll

By: - November 5, 2022 8:21 pm

Former U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Franken (left) is challenging U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in the upcoming election. (Photos by Jared Strong/Iowa Capital Dispatch and Mike Franken campaign)

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley regained a double-digit lead over Democratic challenger Mike Franken in the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll published Saturday.

The longtime Republican senator led his opponent 53% to 41% in the poll, which surveyed 801 Iowans who said they have already voted or would definitely vote. The poll, conducted by Selzer & Co., was taken from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. It’s a sizable difference from the previous Iowa Poll, which found Franken within 3 points of Grassley.

Grassley still faces a tighter race than previous election cycles. The lowest margin of victory for  Grassley was 8 percentage points in 1980, when he was first elected to the U.S. Senate.

Much of the difference between the October and November polls came from independent voters. Independent support surged for Grassley from 35% in October to 47% in the latest poll, while Franken’s support among independents decreased from 46% to 41%. Democrats and Republicans both supported their party’s candidate at 94%.

Grassley, 89, is running for his eighth term in the U.S. Senate this year, and will be 95 at the end of the next six-year term if re-elected. In the October Poll, 60% of likely voters said the senator’s age is a concern.

But Grassley’s campaign has argued that his long tenure as a public servant is a benefit. A campaign ad released Friday features the senator saying “I’m not done yet.”

“Senator Chuck Grassley’s tireless: Pre-dawn running, meetings in every county every year, using his seniority and clout to make our lives better,” the narrator said in the ad.

Franken, 64, has argued on the campaign trail that it’s time for Iowa to retire Grassley. While he has not held public office, Franken has argued his experience as a former Navy admiral and a congressional liaison have given him needed experience for the role. His most recent ad featured people identifying as previous Grassley supporters who said they are not supporting the senator in the upcoming election.

He has also pointed to Grassley’s track record on issues like abortion as a reason to vote him out: Democrats hope that the overturn of Roe v. Wade this summer will motivate voters to support Democrats in the Nov. 8 election.

Grassley has said he believes abortion should be legislated at the state level.

Deidre DeJear, right, is the Democratic challenger to Gov. Kim Reynolds in the 2022 campaign. (Reynolds headshot courtesy of Iowa governor’s office; DeJear headshot courtesy of Iowa Senate Democrats)

Reynolds holds steady in Iowa Poll lead

The November Iowa Poll also found Gov. Kim Reynolds maintained a 17-point lead against Democrat Deidre DeJear.

It’s the same margin among likely voters found in the October and July polls, with 54% saying they plan to support the incumbent, 37% to vote for DeJear and 4% for Libertarian Rick Stewart. While the margin has stayed the same, support for Reynolds has increased as the election draws near, from 48% in July and 52% in October.

Independents also favored Reynolds in the most recent poll: 48% said they plan to or already have voted for the governor, while 32% said they will or have voted for DeJear. Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly supported their party candidate, with 97% of Republicans behind Reynolds and 94% of Democrats behind DeJear.

Both candidates have spent the final days on the campaign trail with national political figures. The governor spoke alongside former President Donald Trump in Sioux City Thursday. DeJear held an event Friday second gentleman Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, in Grimes.

Miller, Bird in tight race for attorney general

Republicans hope the strong support behind Reynolds can help lift up other Republicans in the upcoming election, like Republican attorney general candidate Brenna Bird. The November Iowa Poll found incumbent Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, holds a thin edge over Bird at 47% to 45% — a lead within the 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

The remaining poll respondents said they would vote for someone else (2%), would not vote (1%), were not sure or did not remember who they voted for (5%), or did not want to say (1%).

National GOP groups have targeted Iowa’s attorney general race as a potential pick-up. Trump endorsed Bird Thursday, and Reynolds has called for her supporters to back Bird as well on the campaign trail.

“Please, help me get my own attorney general in Brenna Bird,” Reynolds said at the Thursday rally. Democrats have criticized similar remarks from Reynolds, pointing out that the attorney general is supposed to be an independent government watchdog.

Miller, the longest-serving state attorney general in the country, still leads with both Democrat and independent likely voters in the most recent results, though his independent support decreased from 52% to 50% from October to November. Bird has gained traction within her own party, growing from 66% to 83% support from Republicans in the two most recent polls.

Though her support among GOP likely voters is growing, the poll found Miller has the support of 14% of likely voters who have or plan to vote for Grassley and Reynolds.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. They have experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald.