Just three days after her victory in Iowa’s Republican primary, Senate candidate Joni Ernst has taken a big lead over Democrat Bruce Braley in a poll conducted by the state’s Loras College.
The poll, which surveyed 600 likely Iowa voters, found 48 percent of voters backing Ernst and 41.7 percent backing Braley, with 10.3 percent undecided. That’s a swing of nearly 14 points from Braley’s peak.
That poll, by far the best Ernst has yet seen in the race, was balanced by a larger one published by Rasmussen Reports on the same day which showed the race as a dead heat. That poll, which surveyed 750 likely voters, showed Ernst ahead just 45 percent to 44 percent, with 9 percent undecided.
The polls are the first to show Ernst leading Braley. Previous polls conducted from April to May gave Braley a 4 to 8-point lead.
The Loras poll also indicated that Republicans had entirely eliminated the recognition gap in the race. Braley, who currently represents the state’s 1st Congressional District, had long benefited from being more familiar to voters than any of the GOP candidates.
The new poll, however, found that only 8.3 percent of Iowans hadn’t heard of Ernst, while Braley remains a mystery to 13.5 percent. Ernst has benefited from huge amounts of publicity due to her rapid rise after a viral campaign ad that likened cutting spending to castrating hogs on a farm.
Both polls were conducted from June 4-5 and had a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
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