Iowa Democratic Senate nominee Bruce Braley -- perhaps best known for demeaning farmers at out-of-state fundraisers with fellow trial lawyers, whining about interrupted towel service at the Congressional gym, and threatening legal action against neighbors -- is in a nip-and-tuck battle with Republican Joni Ernst. The race is a pure toss-up, perhaps leaning ever so slightly in Ernst's direction recently. In a Quinnipiac poll released last week, Ernst led Braley by six points. Part of the reason? Barack Obama. The president's stock is lower than ever in Hawkeye country. In the Q-poll, more than twice as many respondents said their Senate vote will be an expression of opposition to Obama, as opposed to a tally in support of his agenda. And here's Gallup's September tracker of the president's standing in the state:
All of which is to say that this clip from 2007 may not be particularly helpful to Bruce Braley's campaign:
Republicans should think twice before overplaying this hand, as many Iowans retain fond memories of the 2008 campaign, when their state catapulted Obama from longshot to contender status. But as the polling nuggets above demonstrate, most of those same voters have long since lost that loving feeling to one degree or another. Bruce Braley would be a lockstep vote for Harry Reid on behalf of Barack Obama's agenda. The ineffectual, liberal president would love to have a "new best friend" in the Senate. Iowans will decide whether to give Obama what he wants, or to try something new. Parting fact: If elected, Joni Ernst would be the first woman to serve Iowa as a Senator, governor or US representative.