Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst jumped from 44 percent to 47 percent in the latest Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa voters, maintaining a slim one point lead on Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) who also improved from 38 percent to 46 percent in the latest poll.
Ernst continues to be viewed more favorably than Braley. Just 44 percent of Iowa voters have a favorable opinion of Braley compared to 43 percent who don't. Meanwhile, 47 percent of Iowa voters have a favorable opinion of Ernst, compared to just 43 percent who don't. The same poll found that while a similar 47 percent of Iowans have a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, 49 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the former-First Lady of the United States.
Also worrisome for Democrats, according to Ace of Spades HQ Decision Desk, Democrats are far behind their 2012 lead in early voting. By this point tin 2012, Iowa Democrats had turned in 115,280 ballots compared to just 62,152 Republican ballots, giving them a 53,128 ballot lead. Obama went on to win Iowa 52 percent to 46 percent that year.
But this year, Democrats have turned in just 55,879 ballots so far, compared to 44,192 for Republicans, netting them a 11,687 ballot lead. Not only is that far smaller margin than in 2012, but it also is much smaller than the 2010 Democratic ballot advantage at this point (Dems +21,942) when Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad went on to crush his Democratic opponent 53 percent to 43 percent.