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Dems Lead in 3 of 4 House Races

Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020

Open seats: Dem pulls ahead in IA2; GOP lead narrows in IA4

West Long Branch, NJ – The U.S. House race in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District has shifted to the Democrat’s favor while the Republican’s edge in the 4th has decreased since the summer, according to the Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll. Two first-term Democratic U.S. House incumbents in Iowa remain in strong position to be reelected in the 1st and the 3rd.

“Democrats appear to be on track to retain the three House seats they currently hold and are making a run in a deep red district,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

IOWA CD1:  First-term Rep. Abby Finkenauer holds a sizable lead over state legislator Ashley Hinson in her bid to win a second term. The race stands at 52% for the Democrat to 44% for the Republican among all registered voters, with 3% undecided. The incumbent maintains her advantage among likely voters in a high turnout scenario (54% to 44%). Finkenauer’s high turnout 10-point lead is similar to the 11-point lead she held in Monmouth’s August poll.

Finkenauer has a 15-point registered voter edge (55% to 40%) in the four counties she won by just over 13 points combined in 2018 (including Black Hawk, Dubuque, Linn, Winneshiek). The race is virtually tied – 50% Hinson and 47% Finkenauer – in the remaining counties, which former Rep. Rod Blum won by 9 points combined two years ago. Women back Finkenauer by a 61% to 35% margin while men prefer Hinson by 53% to 43%.

IOWA CD2:  The open-seat race to replace the retiring 14-year Democratic incumbent, Dave Loebsack, has flipped from a slight Republican advantage in the summer to a Democratic lead now. Rita Hart leads Mariannette Miller-Meeks by 49% to 43% among registered voters in the district, with 6% undecided. Miller-Meeks had a 47% to 44% registered voter edge in August. Among likely voters in a high turnout scenario, Hart holds a 9-point lead (51% to 42%) which reverses the 4-point deficit she had in the summer (44% for Hart to 48% for Miller-Meeks).

Hart has increased her advantage in the nine counties that Loebsack won by a combined 23 points in 2018 (including Cedar, Clinton, Des Moines, Jefferson, Johnson, Lee, Muscatine, Scott, Wapello) from 8 points among registered voters in August (50% to 42%) to 18 points in the current poll (56% to 38%). On the other hand, in the counties that Loebsack lost by a combined 14 points, Miller-Meeks’ lead has narrowed from 34 points (61% to 27%) to 18 points (53% to 35%). The biggest swing toward Hart has come from voters aged 65 and older. Senior voters currently prefer the Democrat by 61% to 33%. In August, this group was evenly divided at 47% for Miller-Meeks and 46% for Hart.

IOWA CD1: VOTER MODELS
 Registered
voters
High likely
turnout
Low likely
turnout
October   
Hinson (R)44%44%42%
Finkenauer (D-i)52%54%56%
    
August   
Hinson (R)41%41%40%
Finkenauer (D-i)51%52%52%
IOWA CD2: VOTER MODELS
 Registered
voters
High likely
turnout
Low likely
turnout
October   
Miller-Meeks (R)43%42%41%
Hart (D)49%51%54%
    
August   
Miller-Meeks (R)47%48%48%
Hart (D)44%44%45%
      Source:  Monmouth University Poll, October 15-20, 2020

IOWA CD3:  First-term incumbent Cindy Axne has widened her lead over former Rep. David Young in a rematch of the 2018 contest that saw this district flip from Republican to Democrat. Among registered voters, 52% support Axne and 43% back Young. Another 2% say they will vote for Libertarian Bryan Jack Holder and 2% are undecided. Among likely voters in Monmouth’s high turnout model, Axne leads by 11 points (53% to 42%). The Democrat’s registered voter and likely voter leads are both 3 points larger than in August.

Axne has a 25-point registered voter lead (60% to 35%) in populous Polk County, which she won by 16 points in 2018. Young has a 10-point lead (53% to 43%) in the remainder of the district – an area he won by 17 points two years ago. Axne has gained about 4 points in both regions since August.

IOWA CD4:  This district was sizing up to be a Democratic target with a rematch between Democrat J.D. Scholten and controversial incumbent Rep. Steve King. But when King lost his primary to Randy Feenstra, it looked like Republicans could breathe a sigh of relief. That picture has changed, with Feenstra holding a narrow 48% to 42% lead over Scholten among registered voters, with 6% undecided. Among high turnout likely voters, the race stands at 48% for Feenstra and 43% for Scholten. The Republican held what seemed like an insurmountable lead in Monmouth’s August poll – 54% to 34% among registered voters and 55% to 34% among high turnout likely voters.

The Democrat’s gains have come mainly on Republican turf. Scholten has a 13-point registered voter lead (53% to 40%) in the six counties he won by 17 points in 2018 (including Boone, Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Story, Webster, Woodbury), which is up from a 7-point lead here in August (48% to 41%). He has made even bigger gains though in in the remaining counties that King won by 17 points as a group two years ago. Feenstra holds an 18-point edge in these counties (53% to 35%), but this is down from a massive 40-point advantage (64% to 24%) in August.

IOWA CD3: VOTER MODELS
 Registered
voters
High likely
turnout
Low likely
turnout
October   
Young (R)43%42%41%
Axne (D-i)52%53%55%
    
August   
Young (R)42%42%41%
Axne (D-i)48%50%52%
IOWA CD4: VOTER MODELS
 Registered
voters
High likely
turnout
Low likely
turnout
October   
Feenstra (R)48%48%47%
Scholten (D)42%43%44%
    
August   
Feenstra (R)54%55%56%
Scholten (D)34%34%33%
      Source:  Monmouth University Poll, October 15-20, 2020

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone and online from October 15 to 20, 2020 with 1,547 Iowa registered voters sampled from a voter list file. The question results in this release have a margin of error between +/- 4.8 and +/- 5.2 percentage points, depending on the congressional district. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

  +   Monmouth’s likely voter models for the 2020 election are not forecasts. They are designed to present a range of reasonable outcomes based on voter intentions as of this moment (including ballots already cast). Each registered voter is assigned a probabilistic weight between 0 and 1, based primarily on past voting history, with adjustments for self-reported likelihood to vote, motivation and other factors. Further adjustments are applied to the aggregate sample based on turnout propensities among different demographic groups (e.g. by race, gender, education).

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Note: the following is Question #5 from the Iowa statewide telephone poll previously released.]

[Note: Voters who report already casting their ballots were asked, “In the election for X, did you vote for…”.]

CD1.If the election for U.S. House of Representatives in your district was held today, would you vote for Ashley Hinson the Republican or Abby Finkenauer the Democrat? [NAMES WERE ROTATED] [If UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Ashley Hinson or Abby Finkenauer?]

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERS (with leaners)Oct.
2020
Aug.
2020
Ashley Hinson44%41%
Abby Finkenauer52%51%
(VOL) Other0%1%
(VOL) No one1%<1%
(VOL) Undecided3%8%
(n)(352)(391)

CD2. If the election for U.S. House of Representatives in your district was held today, would you vote for Mariannette Miller-Meeks the Republican or Rita Hart the Democrat? [NAMES WERE ROTATED] [If UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Mariannette Miller-Meeks or Rita Hart?]

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERS (with leaners)Oct.
2020
Aug.
2020
Mariannette Miller-Meeks43%47%
Rita Hart49%44%
(VOL) Other1%<1%
(VOL) No one1%1%
(VOL) Undecided6%8%
(n)(355)(374)

CD3.If the election for U.S. House of Representatives in your district was held today, would you vote for David Young the Republican, Cindy Axne the Democrat, or Bryan Jack Holder the Libertarian? [NAMES WERE ROTATED] [If UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – David Young or Cindy Axne?]

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERS (with leaners)Oct.
2020
Aug.
2020
David Young43%42%
Cindy Axne52%48%
Bryan Jack Holder2%2%
(VOL) Other<1%1%
(VOL) No one0%1%
(VOL) Undecided2%6%
(n)(426)(507)

CD4. If the election for U.S. House of Representatives in your district was held today, would you vote for Randy Feenstra the Republican or J.D. Scholten the Democrat? [NAMES WERE ROTATED] [If UNDECIDED: If you had to vote for one of the following candidates at this moment, who do you lean toward – Randy Feenstra or J.D. Scholten?]

TREND: REGISTERED VOTERS (with leaners)Oct.
2020
Aug.
2020
Randy Feenstra48%54%
J.D. Scholten42%34%
(VOL) Other2%1%
(VOL) No one2%3%
(VOL) Undecided6%8%
(n)(414)(393)

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from October 15 to 20, 2020 with a statewide random sample of 1,547 Iowa voters drawn from a list of registered voters. This includes 501 contacted by a live interviewer in English (213 on a landline telephone and 288 on a cell phone) and 1,046 conducted online in English recruited via email invitation from a voter list file. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for party registration, age, gender, race, education, and region based on state voter registration list information and U.S. Census information (CPS 2018 supplement). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (phone field) and Aristotle (phone and email voter samples). For results based on the full voter sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.8 to 5.2 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design), depending on the congressional district. Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted) REGISTERED VOTERS
     
   CD 1  CD 2  CD 3 CD 4
Party Registration   
Republican31%31%35%42%
Other/none35%34%31%33%
Democrat34%35%34%25%
     
Self-Reported Party    
Republican29%32%32%38%
Independent39%40%34%37%
Democrat32%28%34%25%
     
Male49%50%50%51%
Female51%50%50%49%
     
18-3422%23%22%22%
35-4921%22%25%20%
50-6427%26%26%26%
65+30%29%26%31%
     
White, non-Hispanic93%92%90%93%
Other  7%  9%10%  7%
     
No degree71%65%59%76%
4 year degree29%35%41%24%
     

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs