Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has been steadily pulling away from Democrat Bruce Braley for the last few months in Iowa. But Braley is warning his supporters to ignore the polls. He insists they’re wrong — and he says the only poll he needs is the one “in his gut.”
On Saturday, The Des Moines Register touted a last-minute poll that shows State Senator Joni Ernst has achieved a seven-point lead over trial lawyer Bruce Braley.
This isn’t anything sudden, either. Ernst has been steadily gaining on Braley as the last undecided voters begin to make up their minds. The Real Clear Politics average has seen a steady advance for Ernst since September in this contentious election.
But despite the mounting number of polls showing the Republican’s advance, Iowa Democrats are refusing to believe them.
Democrat powerhouse, Senator Tom Harkin, says he doesn’t “feel” that the polls are going to the GOP.
Harkin, the man responsible for initiating this contest after his announcement that he wouldn’t run for another term, insists that the ground game is different from the polls. “I’m tellin’ you, I sense it, I feel it,” he recently said.
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Scott Brennan agreed. “That’s not the number we are seeing on the ground,” he said.
Finally, despite the surge for Republican Ernst, her opponent, Bruce Braley, says he doesn’t believe the polls, either.
“You know the only poll that I’m counting on? It’s the poll right here in my gut,” Braley said.
There may be a reason Braley has started to collapse in rural Iowa. He has done himself no favors by being heard at least twice to denigrate farmers in the mostly rural faming state. He even brought scorn on himself for suing his next door neighbor because she had a chicken coop on her property that he wanted eliminated.
He also seems to have a problem with advocates forgetting how to say his name. Bill Clinton muffed the candidate’s name when he visited the state in September. Barely a month later, First Lady Michelle Obama called Braley by the name “Bailey” a half dozen times. Even Iowa Congresswoman Staci Appel couldn’t get his name right.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at email@example.com.