Popular wisdom has it that Governor Branstad’s armor is so thick it can’t be damaged by one lousy scandal. But what about a whole pile of lousy scandals? A poll released yesterday by PPP and commissioned by Progress Iowa spells big trouble for Branstad, with State Senator Jack Hatch polling a mere 5 points behind the 5-term governor.
More important, when poll respondents were asked about the recent scandals, Hatch trails by only one point. One point!
In other words, the Iowa governor’s race is a statistical tie!
That’s unprecedented. Branstad has been unbeatable in the past. He has always polled well ahead of his Democratic challengers. For Hatch to be this close six months before the election moves the race for Governor into a more prominent position in the national spotlight. It gives Hatch more credibility. It brings in new allies. And it will most certainly attract donations from individuals and causes favorable to the environment, campaign finance reform, health care reform and government accountability.
Whatever you thought about the Terry Branstad of the 1980s and 1990s, this millennium’s Branstad has taken political dysfunction and denial to new levels. Pundits who once thought Jack Hatch was either a sacrificial lamb or a long shot are having to rethink that viewpoint. With the legislative session about to end and Hatch free to bring his message of a fresh approach to governance to Iowans across the state, I’d say Branstad is in big trouble. This poll bears that out.
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Thanks! – Ed