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August 19th, 2009

Independent Voters Overwhelmingly Object to Culver’s Agenda

culverpollThe Iowa First Foundation is once again sharing the results of its latest statewide poll that was conducted between July 23rd and July 26th. The poll was conducted by Hill Research Consultants, a Texas-based public opinion and marketing research firm. Hill Research has worked on a number of Iowa projects, and its political clients include governors from multiple states, numerous members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, and State legislators and legislative caucuses.

The Iowa First Foundation is headed by former 2002 Republican gubernatorial nominee, Doug Gross, and former Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, Richard Schwarm. The Iowa First Foundation is a 527 organization that works to advocate for certain issues and influence the selection of candidates. It is working on a project to (1) develop profiles of winning Republican candidates, (2) develop issues and themes of a winning Republican coalition, and (3) implement strategies for building a winning Republican coalition.

Yesterday afternoon, the Iowa First Foundation released a portion of the results of their most recent poll. Just like in poll, the Iowa First Foundation poll paints a disturbing picture for Governor Chet Culver and his re-election team as they enter into the election year.

One of the more intriguing questions asked is whether or not people feel that Governor Culver is responsible for the fiscal problems the state is facing.

Question: Some experts say the state faces a budget deficit of up to one billion dollars. How much responsibility does Governor Chet Culver bear for the budget deficit? Is he very responsible, somewhat responsible, or not very responsible for the budget problems?

Twenty-six percent of respondents said that Governor Culver is very responsible, while fifty-eight percent of those surveyed said that Culver was somewhat responsible. That means eighty-four percent of likely voters believe that Governor Culver is responsible for Iowa’s budget’s problems. This particular question gets to the core issue that Governor Culver will have to overcome if is to be successful in his re-election bid.

While most people like to discuss the Governor’s approval numbers or head to head match-ups, it is more important to identify why Governor Culver has performed so poorly in recent polls. It is very clear that, while Iowans seem to like Governor Culver as a person, when it comes to his performance as Governor, they find him to be inadequate.

The next question in the Iowa First Foundation’s poll asked about how to best stimulate the economy.

Question: Which of the following two statements comes closer to your view about how state government should respond to the recession?

Option One: Investing in programs and projects that protect and create jobs, and making key investments in our communities, even if it means borrowing money or raising taxes to pay for it.

Option Two: Make tough, painful decisions about cutting spending now, to avoid raising taxes; make sure that people aren’t burdened with a massive debt that will slow the economic recovery

Thirty-one percent of respondents said that option one, investing in programs like Culver’s I-Jobs borrowing plan, comes close to how they would respond to a recession. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they would rather make painful spending cuts to avoid raising taxes. What is shocking is that, when you break down the results by party, more Republicans, Independents, AND Democrats prefer cutting spending rather than borrowing money.

Democrats: 46% Borrow/Invest – 48% Cut Spending
Republicans: 24% Borrow/Invest – 72% Cut Spending
Independents: 18% Borrow/Invest – 79% Cut Spending

Independent voters make up the largest bloc of voters in Iowa. Governor Culver’s trouble with that critical group of voters may haunt him throughout his re-election campaign. One would expect a vast majority of Republicans to respond negatively to Culver’s agenda, but the independents surveyed are even more fiscally conservative than Republican respondents were.

There is little that Culver can do to reverse the course he has chosen in dealing with the state’s fiscal problems. Governor Culver has already borrowed $830 million for infrastructure improvements, and he has also refused to be proactive in dealing with the budget deficit for the fiscal year that ended on June 30th. Making matters worse, the budget that Governor Culver will have to hammer out during the next legislative session is already in the red by almost a billion dollars.

The Iowa First Foundation also asked some specific questions about gay marriage.

Question: The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled gay marriages can legally be conducted in the state. If there was a state Constitutional Amendment election, would you vote for or against a measure in Iowa’s constitution that says marriage can only be between a man and a woman?

Sixty-one percent would support a constitutional amendment supporting traditional marriage, while 32% would oppose the measure. Republicans (80%) and Independents (58%) overwhelmingly support a constitutional amendment defining traditional marriage, but surprisingly 47% of Democrats also support the constitutional amendment. In fact the issue was tied among Democrats, with 47% supporting an amendment, and 47% opposed the measure.

Again, more bad news for Governor Culver. Not only did Culver fail to do anything following the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling, he actually flip-flopped on the issue. Culver was a proponent of traditional marriage as a gubernatorial candidate, but when the court issued its decision, he went along with it. Most times, candidates flip-flop on an issue to be where the majority of the public is on an issue. Culver flip-flopped to side with a minority of Iowans.

The Iowa First Foundation also asked a specific question regarding Bob Vander Plaats’ proposed executive order that would temporarily stay the Court’s decision.

Question: Suppose a governor issued an Executive Order temporarily overturning the Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage, and the Order created a constitutional crisis because some officials obeyed the governor’s order while others still obeyed the court decision. If you knew a crisis like that would occur, would you favor or oppose a governor issuing an Executive Order overruling the Iowa Supreme Court on gay marriage?

Forty-three percent of those surveyed would support an executive order, while 49% oppose.

Republican: 54% Support the executive order, 38% oppose.
Independents: 43% Support the executive order, 48% oppose.
Democrats: 32% Support the executive order, 59% oppose.

Excellent question. While many in the media have been dismissive of Bob Vander Plaats’ executive order position, the Iowa First Foundation poll shows that Iowans of all political persuasions support the idea despite the fact that it could create a constitutional crisis.

The Iowa First Foundation also asked if people about their position on abortion.

Question: On the issue of abortion, would your views be labeled pro-choice, or pro-life, or is that not an important issue for you?”

Forty-nine percent of respondents identified themselves as pro-life, 31% said they were pro-choice, and 13% said that the issue wasn’t important to them.

Republican: 68% pro-life, 16% pro-choice, 10% not important.
Democrat: 39% pro-life, 42% pro-choice, 13% not important.
Independent: 39% pro-life, 37% pro-choice, 18% not important. and Iowa First Foundation polls were both conducted by well known, highly respected polling firms. Both polls paint a similar picture about Governor Chet Culver’s position as he enters into his re-election campaign. Culver is on the wrong side of all of these important issues of the day.

There’s just no getting around that fact that Chet Culver is in serious trouble.

The Iowa First Foundation will also release name I.D., favorability, and approval ratings for GOP gubernatorial candidates. The group also plans to release head-to-head match-ups between GOP candidates and Governor Culver. will have full coverage and analysis of the Iowa First Foundation poll.

About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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