Ernst surges to 7 point lead in Iowa Senate race

A poll by the Des Moines Register published today offers multiple reasons for GOP joy. Jodi Ernst is breaking out into a lead that is beyond the poll’s margin of error, while, Harry Reid, in words he may regret, has gone on the record saying that an Ernst win portends the GOP taking the Senate.

"What Joni Ernst would mean, coming to the United States Senate, is that Mitch McConnell would be the leader of the Senate, someone who agrees with her on virtually everything. Think what that would mean to our country," Reid said on Friday.

Unless this is an urgent call for vote fraud, it is hard to see how it will inspire the Democrat ranks.

The Register’s analysis of the poll is worth reading, for it reveals across-the-board problems for the Democrat candidate Bruce Braley, and highlights why Jodi Ernst may become a rising GOP star if she joins the Senate.

But first one caveat: this is a small sample poll, with only 701 likely voters included. But even with a sample of that size, the margin of error is less than7 points.

The trend is our friend:

Braley has lost vote share since an early October Iowa Poll (he dropped from 46 percent to 44 percent) while Ernst has increased her share (from 47 percent to 51 percent now).

Another sign of trouble: Braley is losing by 3 points in his home congressional district in left-leaning northeast Iowa. In the early October poll, he was up by 1 point there.

Ernst has star potential:

• Although a small plurality of likely voters thinks Braley has more depth on the issues [he is a sitting congressman – ed], they like Ernst better than Braley on several character descriptions. They think she better reflects Iowa values, she cares more about people like them, and she's more of a regular, down-to-earth person.

The Democrats have played the “cares more about people like me” card with great effectiveness. But two can play that game. Especially if the opponent is someone like Hillary Clinton, who is not exactly likable, and who considers herself dead broke when she has two houses and millions coming in on a book contract. Ernst broke out of the field of GOP candidates for the nomination with her hog castration video, and has demonstrated a flair that makes her someone to watch.

• Voters find Ernst, who has led Iowa troops in war, to be a reassuring presence on security issues, the poll shows. In the wake of news developments on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, increasing aggressiveness of Russia and the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, more likely voters see Ernst as better equipped than Braley to show leadership and judgment, by at least 9 points on each issue.

As a military veteran with command responsibility, Ernst has credibility. President Obama’s bungling of national security affairs places this GOP strength in the spotlight as we move toward 2016. 

• Independent voters are going Ernst's way, 51 percent to 39 percent.

More good news. The center is swinging rightward, and approachable and attractive candidates can capture their support.

Braley made a bad mistake in slurring GOP Senator Chuck Grassley for being a farmer instead of a lawyer, captured on video at a Texas fundraiser. Shades of Mitt Romney's 47% line. But also an indication of the anti-elitism that is sweeping the nation in the wake of the Obama admininstration's reliance on a community organizer with Ivy League credentials and little else.

The auguries are excellent.

A poll by the Des Moines Register published today offers multiple reasons for GOP joy. Jodi Ernst is breaking out into a lead that is beyond the poll’s margin of error, while, Harry Reid, in words he may regret, has gone on the record saying that an Ernst win portends the GOP taking the Senate.

"What Joni Ernst would mean, coming to the United States Senate, is that Mitch McConnell would be the leader of the Senate, someone who agrees with her on virtually everything. Think what that would mean to our country," Reid said on Friday.

Unless this is an urgent call for vote fraud, it is hard to see how it will inspire the Democrat ranks.

The Register’s analysis of the poll is worth reading, for it reveals across-the-board problems for the Democrat candidate Bruce Braley, and highlights why Jodi Ernst may become a rising GOP star if she joins the Senate.

But first one caveat: this is a small sample poll, with only 701 likely voters included. But even with a sample of that size, the margin of error is less than7 points.

The trend is our friend:

Braley has lost vote share since an early October Iowa Poll (he dropped from 46 percent to 44 percent) while Ernst has increased her share (from 47 percent to 51 percent now).

Another sign of trouble: Braley is losing by 3 points in his home congressional district in left-leaning northeast Iowa. In the early October poll, he was up by 1 point there.

Ernst has star potential:

• Although a small plurality of likely voters thinks Braley has more depth on the issues [he is a sitting congressman – ed], they like Ernst better than Braley on several character descriptions. They think she better reflects Iowa values, she cares more about people like them, and she's more of a regular, down-to-earth person.

The Democrats have played the “cares more about people like me” card with great effectiveness. But two can play that game. Especially if the opponent is someone like Hillary Clinton, who is not exactly likable, and who considers herself dead broke when she has two houses and millions coming in on a book contract. Ernst broke out of the field of GOP candidates for the nomination with her hog castration video, and has demonstrated a flair that makes her someone to watch.

• Voters find Ernst, who has led Iowa troops in war, to be a reassuring presence on security issues, the poll shows. In the wake of news developments on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, increasing aggressiveness of Russia and the rise of the Islamic State in the Middle East, more likely voters see Ernst as better equipped than Braley to show leadership and judgment, by at least 9 points on each issue.

As a military veteran with command responsibility, Ernst has credibility. President Obama’s bungling of national security affairs places this GOP strength in the spotlight as we move toward 2016. 

• Independent voters are going Ernst's way, 51 percent to 39 percent.

More good news. The center is swinging rightward, and approachable and attractive candidates can capture their support.

Braley made a bad mistake in slurring GOP Senator Chuck Grassley for being a farmer instead of a lawyer, captured on video at a Texas fundraiser. Shades of Mitt Romney's 47% line. But also an indication of the anti-elitism that is sweeping the nation in the wake of the Obama admininstration's reliance on a community organizer with Ivy League credentials and little else.

The auguries are excellent.