Iowa Poll: 2nd & 3rd congressional districts are tight; likely voters favor Republicans in 1st & 4th


HR King
May 29, 2001
Two of Iowa’s U.S. House races are close between Democrats and Republicans, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.

Likely voters in Iowa’s 2nd and 3rd districts are split between the Democratic and Republican candidates for the U.S. House. Pollster J. Ann Selzer described the races as “squeaky tight.”

Republican candidates hold the advantage in the 1st and 4th districts.

The Iowa Poll, conducted by Selzer & Co. from Oct. 9-12, asked likely voters whether they would favor the Democratic or Republican candidate for the U.S. House.

Statewide, 51% of likely Iowa voters say they support Republican House candidates, while 43% would prefer a Democrat. Among independents, 46% say they would vote for a Republican and 43% say they would vote for a Democrat.

Across the nation, if Republicans net five more seats in the U.S. House in November, they will retake the majority. Iowa’s congressional races could be key in determining which party holds power.

The poll surveyed 804 Iowa adults, including 620 likely voters. Questions based on the sample of likely voters have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

The poll question, which did not identify House candidates by name, has a margin of error of plus or minus 7.6 percentage points to 8.4 percentage points, depending on the congressional district.

Republican advantage dwindles in Iowa’s 2nd District​

The newly redrawn 2nd District, which covers Linn County and the northeastern corner of the state, saw a significant shift in favor of the Democratic candidate since July’s poll.

Among likely voters, 48% say they would prefer a Democratic candidate for the House seat, while 46% say they would vote for a Republican. In a July Iowa Poll, Republicans held the advantage by more than 10 percentage points — 54% of likely 2nd District voters said they would prefer a Republican, and 42% would support a Democrat.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican, is running for her second term in the House. State Sen. Liz Mathis, a Democrat, is challenging her.

Poll respondent Marty Bowers, a 47-year-old HVAC tech living in Marion, plans to support Hinson in November. Bowers is a Republican who disapproves of the way Democrats have governed in Washington, D.C.

“I just believe that (Hinson’s) working for the American people, and she's doing everything she possibly can to help,” Bowers said.

Democrat Terry Muller, a 75-year-old poll respondent, intends to vote for Mathis. The Osage bus driver was impressed by a television ad in which Mathis touted endorsements from the Linn County and Black Hawk County sheriffs.

“Apparently she's been very reliable,” Muller said. “Those two sheriffs talked about all that she did for them. … They talked highly of her.”

Bowers expects Republicans to win big this November. Muller was less confident about the odds of Democrats winning in Iowa, but he thinks Mathis “stands a chance.”

Iowa’s 3rd District race gets even tighter​

Likely voters in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District are split nearly evenly between favoring a Democrat and a Republican for the House.

Forty-nine percent of likely 3rd District voters say they would vote for a Democrat, and 48% say they would vote for a Republican. It’s an even closer race than it was in July, when 47% of likely voters said they would vote for a Democrat and 44% a Republican. The 3rd District covers Polk and Dallas counties and extends south.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat, is running for her third term against Republican state Sen. Zach Nunn.

Poll respondent Kathy Eckhouse, a self-described “committed Democrat” from Des Moines, believes Axne deserves to be reelected.

“She is a really hard-working person, very smart,” she said. “And she represents her district really well.”

Eckhouse, the 72-year-old owner of a meat processing company, said she was especially impressed with Axne’s record on abortion rights. Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, the abortion debate has been central to the 3rd District race, and candidates have sparred in debates and advertisements about the issue.

“She supports the right of women to what I like to call ‘full personhood’: the right to control their own bodies,” Eckhouse said.

Cain Brandon, a 20-year-old union sheet metal worker, is planning to vote for Nunn.

“It’s not so much that I’m for Zach Nunn; it’s the way I’ve seen Cindy Axne perform in D.C.,” Brandon said. “I don’t approve of the way that she’s filled her job, so I think that it’s time we give someone else the opportunity to do it.”

Brandon, a Republican and Ankeny resident, said he personally disagrees with abortion, but it is not a top issue for him this election. Instead, he’s focused on the economy.

“Fuel prices need to go down. ... Everything is so expensive right now,” Brandon said.

Republicans hold advantage in 1st and 4th districts​

Voters in Iowa’s 1st District lean Republican. Fifty percent of likely voters say they would support a Republican and 41% say they would support a Democrat. The poll’s margin of error for the district is plus or minus 8.4 percentage points.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, is challenged by Iowa Rep. Christina Bohannan.