A Quinnipiac University poll released this week shows U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, leading Democratic challenger and former Lt. Governor of Iowa Patty Judge by nine points, signaling that Judge’s campaign has some serious work to do if they hope to be competitive in the November election.
Currently, with a 51 percent to 42 percent lead over Judge, Grassley seems to be standing on solid ground to be reelected for his seventh term in the senate, according to Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
"Iowans have known, liked and voted for Sen. Chuck Grassley for decades. That's why he appears in strong position to avoid the kind of down-ballot bloodletting that may hurt some Republicans in other states who are not as well attuned to the views and values of their home base," said Brown, in a press release.
According to the poll results, which surveyed 846 Iowa likely voters from Aug. 9 to 16, showed that Judge was trailing with Iowa men and is only leading with women by one percentage point.
With women likely voters, only 47 percent are siding with the Democrat, while 46 percent are going for the Republican.
Iowa men back Grassley 57 percent to Judge’s 36 percent. He also leads 93 to 5 percent among Republicans and 57 to 37 percent among independent voters. According to the poll, Democrats are the only group securely backing Judge with a 91 to 4 percent margin.
Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor from Iowa State University, said he believes the numbers are representative of Judge’s campaign strategy, which according to him is not as aggressive as it could be.
“Grassley is the incumbent and they are hard to beat,” Schmidt said. “Judge has run a low energy campaign and not attacked Grassley where it might have greater effect.”
According to Schmidt, he has conducted focus groups that have suggested that Grassley would be more vulnerable on issues such as his lengthy time in office and refusal to hold supreme court confirmation hearings. Judge has hit Grassley on those issues, but according to Schmidt those attacks need to be more effective.
A statement provided from the Grassley campaign appears that they disagree with that assessment, since according to Grassley’s campaign manager, Bob Haus, Judge’s attacks have been too negative for Iowa voters.
"Like four other recent surveys, Senator Grassley enjoys a commanding lead, and a huge lead among independents. Our opponent has run the most negative campaign in Iowa’s history, and the voters are tired of it. This is why they threw her out of office in 2010," Haus said.
Judge’s campaign manager Sam Roecker said he has a different view of what the poll numbers mean.
"Chuck Grassley is in trouble. For the first time since 1980, Senator Grassley is in a single-digit race. Iowans have consistently made it clear that they are frustrated with the consistent obstruction and inaction in Washington, and Chuck Grassley is the face of Republican obstruction in the U.S. Senate. Patty Judge continues to gain momentum against Chuck Grassley because Iowans are paying attention and they know Grassley has changed: Chuck Grassley is focused on partisan politics instead of paying attention to the concerns and priorities of working Iowans. As a result, he’s ducking questions and avoiding appearances in front of everyday Iowa voters. Patty Judge will continue to run an aggressive campaign across this state and present her plans to create more opportunities for working families in Iowa," Roecker said.