In the race for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin’s open seat, Congressman Steve King is the favorite in a multi-candidate or two-way Republican primary against Congressman Tom Latham. On the Democratic side, Congressman Bruce Braley will be the Democratic nominee if he wants it. And few doubt that he does. Latham starts out slightly ahead of Braley (36%-33%) while King would begin slightly behind Braley (34%-39%).
In a multi-candidate primary, King leads Latham and conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats 31%-26%-16%. The presence of Vander Plaats and libertarian-leaning candidate Drew Ivers appears to drain a bit of King’s support. In a two-way race against Latham, King’s lead grows to 46%-29%.
In the two-way race, King wins his own 4th District 56%-27% and he also wins Latham’s 3rd District 50%-43%). King wins those who consider themselves “Very Conservative” 52%-22%.
King’s image rating is split at 35% favorable and 35% unfavorable. This is driven by ideology. The Very Conservative give him a 72% favorable rating while only 10% of Moderates say the same thing.
Latham starts at +13% on image (37% favorable, 24% unfavorable). Voters who describe themselves as not affiliated with either party give Latham a net favorable rating of 32%-28% rating.
Those same independent voters give Braley a net favorable rating of 28%-24%. He stands at 32%-24% with all voters. His highest marks come from seniors (34%-21%).
In head-to-head matchups, King starts 5% behind Braley (34%-39%) and Latham starts 3% ahead of Braley (36%-33%). Interestingly, King beats Braley by significantly more in his home 4th District (56%-27%) than Braley beats King in his home 1st District (46%-29%). Braley wins Women 39%-29%. It’s a dead heat among Men at 40%-39%.
In the Latham vs. Braley matchup, Latham leads among independents 31%-26%. The only age group that picks Braley over Latham is seniors (35%-33%). Women are split: Braley 32%, Latham 31%. Men are decidedly for Latham 43%-34%.
With Braley under 40% on the ballot against either King or Latham, this has the makings of a very hotly contested Senate race.