Governor Chet Culver faces a steep challenge if he wants to win re-election this November. Two state-wide polls conducted in late January and early February show Governor Culver in serious trouble as he prepares to stand for re-election.
The polls conducted by TIR/Concordia Group and the Des Moines Register, show Governor Culver losing to both former Governor Terry Branstad and Bob Vander Plaats in head-to-head matchups. While Vander Plaats defeats Culver in head-to-head matchups in both polls, he is within the margin of error, meaning he is in a statistical dead heat with Governor Culver.
Former Governor Terry Branstad on the other hard continues to dominate Culver in the polls. In the TIR/Concordia Group poll he beats Culver 57% to 28%, an amazing 29 point lead. In the Des Moines Register’s poll, Branstad leads Culver by 20 points.
The TIR/Concordia Group poll also shows that only 28% of Iowans feel that Governor Culver deserves to be re-elected, while 65% of Iowans want to give someone new a chance to do better. What should alarm Governor Culver’s advisors is that his pathetic re-elect numbers have gotten considerably worse in just 7 months. In July of 2009, 36% of Iowans thought Culver deserved re-election, while 53% were already willing to give someone else a chance to lead the state.
Both polls also show that a majority of Iowans think Iowa is one the wrong track. In the Register’s Iowa Poll, 57% said that they believed the state was headed in the wrong direction. That number is almost identical to the 58% the TIR/Concordia Group poll showed. Iowans perception about the state has gotten worse in the last seven months. In July, the TIR/Concordia Group poll showed that 47% of people thought the state was on the wrong track. That number has gotten considerably worse in the last few months.
When you look at either the Des Moines Register or the TIR/Concordia Group polls, it becomes clear that Governor Culver’s re-election effort isn’t just going to be difficult, it might be impossible. To see any incumbent down 20 to 30 points to one of his challengers is unheard of. It’s also important to note that these numbers are not a fluke. Branstad has posted a 16-29 point lead in every public poll since the rumors of his political comeback began.
Not only does Culver lose to the top GOP gubernatorial candidates, but he has also lost the trust of his constituents. Almost 60% of Iowans think the state is headed in the wrong direction and 65% of Iowans want to give someone else a chance to lead the state.
Culver’s chances to turn his political fortunes around are limited. The clock is working against him and so is the state’s bloated budget. Balancing the budget and closing the billion dollar budget gap are simple tasks when compared to what it would take for Culver to regain the people’s trust.
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