Iowa for sure out-punches its weight when it comes to electoral politics. The state is at this point somewhat economically dependent on the visits of potential candidates for the nation’s first presidential preference caucuses. The airways flooded with expensive commercials, the printing of lawn signs, the volunteers from across America hosted in guest bedrooms and mother-in-law suites amongst the cornfields; it’s all been romanticized as an essential part of American political folklore, even if it might not be happening again.
But Iowa will still play a key role in the governance of the nation, as the six electoral college votes up for grabs in a very close state means it will still have a major impact on the 2020 election. Let’s take a look at where the Hawkeye State stands today, which has voted for the winner of the Presidency in every election since 2004.
Current Iowa presidential polling
Of the swing states we’ve been tracking, this might be the one the most in favor of President Trump. The final highly-rated polls:
A+: Selzer & Co: Trump 48%, Biden 41%
A-: Emerson College: Trump 49%, Biden 47%
A Data for Progress poll rated B- released October 15th has Trump leading 48% to 47%. Considering Data for Progress tends to favor blue team candidates, and the lack of polling in the Hawkeye State, this one might be safely moving into the President’s column as we get closer to election day.
A YouGov poll taken yesterday from October 6-9 has a state that seemed to be for Trump as dead even at 49%-49%. The 1,035 likely voters had 95% of respondents say their support for a candidate is “very strong” or “strong” which means this will come down to turnout.
The lack of polling in Iowa continues, but a B-C rated Hart Research poll taken from before President Trump was diagnosed with Covid-19 has Trump leading Joe Biden 49%-47%. It also hass Senator Joni Ernst tied with Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield, each with 48% of the vote.
It’s a big poll from five days before the first Presidential debate, but an A+ rated sample from Monmouth University has Donald Trump leading by six points amongst registered voters (50%-44%), and three points with likely voters (49%-46%). How much money will be invested in the state by both sides is interesting, as Joe Biden probably has other places where he can get more swing electoral votes for his dollar, but it still seems to be within the range of possibly winning.
We’ve got a battle between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, as an A+-rated poll from the Des Moines Register has it dead even between Biden and Trump at 47% each. This is the same poll that has had a huge track record of success during the Iowa caucus each year, so there’s no better level of credibility that can be conferred.
And there are votes to be had as well, with 84% of respondents saying their mind is made up, but 12% saying they could be persuaded one way or the other. And those might be the votes that determine the winner of the state.
A Fabrizio Ward/Hart Research Associates poll shows Trump leading Biden 47% to 45% amongst likely voters in Iowa. The sample of 800 likely voters was of 89% whites, with only 38% of respondents holding a college degree or higher, numbers that generally don’t favor the Democratic nominee. However only 34% of respondents thought the country was heading the right direction, with 59% saying it was on the wrong track.
As of now, Iowa might not be considered very swing anymore, as there has been no reliable state polling of the Hawkeye State from before or after the political conventions.
An interesting survey released by A-graded pollster Monmouth on August 5th makes this race more unusual than most statewide. It shows President Trump leading Joe Biden 48%-45%, but with 3% of respondents voting for Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen. Independents are listed as 47% Trump and 41% Biden, but the education gap where people with bachelors degrees and higher tend to vote for the Democrat is more muted here: Biden’s edge with white college graduates is just 48% to 46% here.
According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Donald Trump leads Joe Biden by the slimmest of margins, 45.8% to 45.5%. The site ranks the relative strength of each poll based on past performance, and the last “A” rated poll came from Selzer & Co. on June 15th. That had Trump ahead of Biden 44% to 43%.
The most recent poll is from Spry Strategies, which came on July 22nd. This is considered a “partisan poll” because of who commissioned it, but still has a B/C grade. This sampling had Biden ahead 48% to 46%. No matter which of the polls you look at for the state however, they’re all very much within the margin of error as of now.
The data that might be even more telling is at PredictIt, a site that allows a limited form of betting on elections in the United States via futures contracts. The site operates via an exemption in US law so political scientists and other academics can use the data in their research showing how the general public feels about an upcoming event or election. And as of now, it shows most traders using their real money think Iowa will go the way of the Democrats.
All futures contracts traded on the site are based on a $1.00 outcome, but they don’t always add up to a buck because of the bid-and-ask pricing on the exchange. For example on July 27nd the Republicans led in Iowa .61 cents to .40 cents based on current trading.
Below is a running tally of the closing price at PredictIt. We will update this weekly through the summer, and then more regularly in the fall as we get closer to the election.
Iowa PredictIt Pricing
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