Democrats in single digits to defeat Iowa’s ‘invincible’ GOP senator

Iowa’s Democratic Senate nominee Mike Franken is within single digits to defeat longtime GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has held his seat for more than four decades, with less than a month to go until the midterm elections, a new poll shows.

Democrats aiming to retain control of the Senate have not paid much attention to Iowa, as they see Grassley, 89, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate who has easily defeated Democratic challengers in the past, as well-placed to take a to win re-election. However, a Des Moines Register A poll released on Saturday found Grassley leads the 64-year-old Frank by just three percentage points.

The poll, conducted Oct. 9-11 by Selzer & Co, found Grassley won 46 percent of likely voters. Franken meanwhile gained 43 percent. The poll polled 620 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The poll shows Franken Grassley could make his toughest re-election bid yet. Though Iowa is considered a competitive state, the GOP senator has easily won every re-election since his first win in 1980. In 2016, his last race, Grassley won by about 24 percentage points.

Grassley leads the Senate race by 3 points
In this image, Senator Chuck Grassley speaks to reporters in Washington, DC on April 4, 2022. Grassley leads his Democratic challenger Mike Franken by just 3 points in the latest Des Moines Register poll, suggesting he could be in his closest race since being elected to the Senate in 1980.
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

“It tells me Franken is campaigning competently and has a chance to defeat the seemingly invincible Chuck Grassley – who was previously thought to be invincible,” said J. Ann Selzer, President of Selzer & Co Des Moines Register.

The latest poll represents the best independent poll the Franconia campaign has seen ahead of the midterm elections.

An Emerson College poll conducted Oct. 2-4 of 959 likely voters found Grassley leads by 11 points — a comfortable margin but smaller than his 2016 landslide win. The poll had a margin of error of 3 .1 percentage points. A Des Moines Register A July poll of 597 likely voters with a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points showed Grassley leading by eight points.

Grassley leads Franconia by 9.2 percentage points in the latest FiveThirtyEight polls.

Franken reacted confidently to the survey on Twitter on Saturday evening.

“We will win this race for the people of Iowa,” he tweeted.

Iowa has long been considered one of the most important swing states in the United States, twice won by former Democratic President Barack Obama. However, the state has leaned toward Republicans in recent election cycles as many rural voters are turning their backs on Democrats. Former President Donald Trump wore the state twice, winning in 2020 by more than eight points.

Because of the state’s recent GOP tilt and Grassley’s perceived popularity at home, the Senate race was not considered particularly competitive. Democrats have instead focused on flipping Senate seats in states President Joe Biden won in 2020, like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

That Des Moines Register A poll also found that Grassley has a record high rejection rate at work. Only 44 percent of Iowans said they approve of his performance, while 48 percent said they disapproved. This is the first time Grassley has seen more Iowans disapprove than approve of his job performance.

Franc’s rise is being driven by independent voters who have turned to him since the July poll. Meanwhile, 60 percent of voters said Grassley’s age was an issue when they went to the polls.

news week has reached out to the Franken and Grassley campaigns for comment. Democrats in single digits to defeat Iowa’s ‘invincible’ GOP senator

Rick Schindler

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