Quinnipiac University has released a poll that places Republican candidate Joni Ernst six points ahead of her Democratic challenger, Bruce Braley, to replace Tom Harkin as the U.S. Senator from Iowa.
Why would Iowans be favoring Ernst? Assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, Peter A. Brown, gave his opinion on the matter:
"The tale of independent voters tells you all you need to know about the Iowa Senate race. These independents are perhaps the most important voter bloc in the electorate and State Sen. Joni Ernst is ahead 7 percentage points among them, just about her overall lead. The key to any comeback by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley will be chipping away at her lead among independents. Sen. Ernst's television commercials and campaign have presented her as a born and bred Iowan, who never lost her farm girl values. She should pay her strategists and media folks quite well because up until now they have sold that message effectively. The fact that more voters think she cares about their needs than does Braley is telling. That is a measurement that many Republicans, even winning GOPers, lose. Some pundits back east may have made fun of her shooting hog ads, but they send an effective message to Iowans that she is one of them. There is also a message to President Barack Obama in these numbers. Almost three in 10 voters say theirs is mainly a vote against the president, a troubling number for Democrats. Only 12 percent say they are voting to back the president. If these results show up in other states, it could produce the kind of wave for which Republicans are hoping."
According to Real Clear Politics, this poll is the first lead Ernst has had in months. Since August, polls have been either tied or showing Braley in a slight lead.
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) September 17, 2014
The campaign has been a harsh one, back in March, Ernst received national attention with her ad promising to use her background castrating pigs in Washington if she's elected:
Her opponent then responded with an ad of his own:
Even though the attack ads are flying, Ernst and Braley have one thing in common; they've received an endorsement from the national non-profit, No Labels. "We always hear candidates talking about the need to unite the country, but no one ever tells us how. The National Strategic Agenda is the how. And the more people like Joni and Bruce that we can get to support the agenda, the better chance we'll have of success," No Labels Executive Director Margaret Kimbrell said.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 24, 2014