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March 14th, 2011

Vander Plaats Is Better Known, But Has High Negatives in Iowa Poll

The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll has confirmed something that many of us already knew, Bob Vander Plaats is much better-known following his third campaign for governor and the subsequent campaign to oust three Iowa supreme court justices.

The mere fact that the Des Moines Register made the decision to survey Iowans about Vander Plaats is itself an indication that Vander Plaats is now a major player in Iowa politics.  The poll’s results are also not surprising.  In November of 2009, 64 percent of those surveyed didn’t have an opinion on Vander Plaats.  That number has now dropped by more than half and currently stands at just 28 percent.

Vander Plaats has also seen his very favorable number bump up from five to eleven percent, but the rest of his numbers are headed into the wrong direction.  Vander Plaats’ mostly favorable rating has dropped from 19 percent to 16 percent.  While that drop doesn’t mean a whole lot, his negatives have skyrocketed.  Vander Plaats is now seen as mostly unfavorable by 15 percent, up seven points from 2009, and his very favorable numbers jumped from just four percent in 2009 to 30 percent in the poll.

While Vander Plaats’ active roll in the retention campaigns introduced him to Democrat voters who were not going to like him anyway, his actions following the 2010 primary where he considered running as an independent and then tried to force himself on to Branstad’s ticket didn’t help him with some Republicans either.

Just last week, Vander Plaats mentioned that he thinks about running for Tom Harkin’s U.S. Senate race everyday.  Vander Plaats’ polarized favorability numbers might not make winning a Republican primary impossible, but if he actually wants to win elected office, he will need to move those numbers, which would be difficult.

Vander Plaats may find more success staying right where he already is.  Under his leadership, The FAMiLY Leader has already played a prominent role at the statehouse and in the Iowa caucuses through its presidential lecture series.  His ability to make news not only helps him become even more well known, but it also gives his organization more credibility.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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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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