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September 17th, 2010

Poll Shows Miller-Meeks in Dead Heat With Loebsack

With Election Day just 47 days away, Republican candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Democrat incumbent Dave Loebsack are locked in a virtual tie and more voters want to replace the incumbent than re-elect him, according to a new poll released today. The poll of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional district voters shows Miller-Meeks trailing by just one point, 41-40 percent, with 13 percent undecided.

The poll, jointly commissioned by the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Miller-Meeks campaign, was conducted by prominent national pollster Brian Tringali of the Tarrance Group on September 13 and 14, with a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

“This news is obviously a tremendous boost to our campaign, and shows that voters are ready to take Congress in a new direction. Every day on the campaign trail I hear from Iowans who are fed up with runaway federal spending, looming tax increases, and policies that will kill more jobs here at home,” said Miller-Meeks. “I’m ready to restore fiscal sanity to Washington and be an independent, fiscally conservative voice who will fight everyday for good-paying Iowa jobs. It’s time for new leadership.”

Miller-Meeks believes in smaller government, hard work and a willingness to serve others. She grew up poor, worked her way through college, became an army nurse and soon after graduated medical school. She is a U.S. Army veteran who served 24 years in the Reserves, a former President of the Iowa Medical Society and former faculty member at the University of Iowa. She recently co-owned and operated a small business – an ophthalmology practice – until last year when she gave it up to run full-time for Congress. She and her family live in Ottumwa.

TO:    MARIANNETTE MILLER-MEEKS
FROM:    BRIAN C. TRINGALI KEVIN HUDAK
RE:    RACE FOR CONGRESS TIED IN IOWA’S SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
DATE:    SEPTEMBER 15, 2010

______________________________________________________________________________
The Tarrance Group is pleased to present the following findings from our most recent survey of likely voters throughout the Second Congressional District of Iowa. The Tarrance Group was retained by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and the Miller-Meeks campaign for Congress to conduct a telephone survey among N=400 registered “likely” voters in the district. A random sample of this type is likely to yield a margin of error of +4.9%. Responses to the survey were gathered September 13-14, 2010.

As we look nationwide, Republicans who ran in a tough 2008 cycle but have made the decision to run again are likely to get elected in 2010. Mariannette Miller-Meeks campaign in the Second Congressional District of Iowa is yet another example of the phenomenon. The race for Congress is now within the margin of error and if the election were held today Miller-Meeks would probably be elected.

As with other re-match campaigns, Miller-Meeks is already well known in the district. Indeed, Miller-Meeks has a more positive image ratio than incumbent Democrat David Loebsack. This is before any contrast campaigning has begun.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks
Aware 78%
Favorable 36%
Unfavorable 17%
Ratio    (2.1:1)

David Loebsack
Aware 93%
Favorable 47%
Unfavorable 32%
Ratio    (1.5:1)

The best single question to understand how vulnerable an incumbent may be is the re-elect score. Respondents were asked if they think David Loebsack deserves to be re-elected or if it is time to give a new person the chance to do better. Loebsack is below the threshold level of 40% on this measure and more voters are interested in a new person (47%) than want to re-elect him (38%).

The incumbent’s weakness translates directly to the ballot. The race appears to be tied, with Miller-Meeks already at 40% and Loebsack getting little more than his re-elect score at 41%. By definition, this is evidence of a vulnerable incumbent but in the current political environment, these undecided voters are a lot more likely to break for the challenger.

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