Governor Chet Culver can’t turn around without being confronted with new poll results that show him losing badly in a head-to-head match-up with former Governor Terry Branstad. In early July, TheIowaRepublican.com poll show Culver losing to Branstad by 16 points. Later that month, a poll commissioned by the Iowa First Foundation showed him losing to Branstad by 19 points. Now, the latest Rasmussen poll shows him down by 20 points.
The latest round of polling numbers paints a much more disturbing picture for Governor Culver and his re-election team. While he continues to get pummeled by a well-known former governor, he also trails the lesser-known Bob Vander Plaats by four points. No matter how Culver and his team want to spin his poll numbers, the first term governor might be the first incumbent to lose re-election since 1962.
Kathie Obradovich, the Des Moines Register political columnist, discredited the results of the Rasmussen poll because the poll is conducted using robo-calls. Obradovich’s critiques are interesting. Earlier this year, she criticized the Republican commissioned polls after Michael Kiernan, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, sent out a press release saying that these polls (TheIowaRepublican.com and Iowa First Foundation polls) asked loaded questions.
Kiernan’s accusation was baseless. Both polls were conducted by highly respected pollsters and used traditional polling methods. The oversample that was used in both polls, which drew some criticism, was necessary because both polls also tested the GOP primary ballot.
Rasmussen is a well respected pollster. While no pollster nails every race they poll, Rasmussen has proven to be relievable. And, while Orbadovich seems to want to dismiss the Rasmussen results, you have to wonder why her own newspaper didn’t poll head-to-head matchups between Governor Culver and some of the top GOP candidates.
The Des Moines Register polled on whether or not people thought it was a good idea for former Governor Branstad to run again, and they also tested his favorability, but you have to question why they didn’t ask the head-to-head question. Is it because they were afraid of what it might say, or did they actually poll the head-to-head questions but have chosen not to publish the results? Either way, it shows the bias of Iowa’s largest newspaper.
One would think that with the state chairman of the Democratic Party saying that recent GOP polls are loaded, the Register would have sought to set the record straight on those allegedly loaded questions. The problem for the Iowa Democratic Party and the Des Moines Register is that TheIowaRepublican.com and Iowa First Foundation polls are above board, and not only do their results complement each other, but the findings of the Register’s poll also back-up the earlier polling results, as do Rasmussen’s findings.
None of these polls are trying to create a story that doesn’t exist. They simply reflect the current attitude of Iowans. Governor Chet Culver is in serious trouble. The recent scandal over the Iowa film tax credits only confirms what most Iowans already know – Governor Culver is in over his head, and his first term has been wrought by incompetence.
Not only is Governor Culver hurt in the polls by the recent tax scandal, but also the state budget mess, the excessive overtime at the state-run Glenwood Resource Center, the care and treatment of dependent adults in Atalissa, and an unpopular borrowing program which plunged the state into debt to the tune of $1 billion.
Iowans don’t need to see polling results to know that Governor Culver is in trouble politically. What’s unfortunate is that the state’s largest newspaper refused to ask or release the results of head-to-head matchups between Culver and Branstad or Culver and Vander Plaats. Since the Register didn’t deem it important enough to include in their own poll, maybe they shouldn’t be the ones trying to diminish the results of those who did ask the question.
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