Ernst's lead is due almost entirely from a strong showing among independents, who favor the former-hog farmer by a seven-point, 50 to 43 percent, margin.
"Sen. Ernst's television commercials and campaign have presented her as a born and bred Iowan, who never lost her farm girl values. She should pay her strategists and media folks quite well because up until now they have sold that message effectively," Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll said. "The fact that more voters think she cares about their needs than does Braley is telling. That is a measurement that many Republicans, even winning GOPers, lose.
Earlier polls showed Braley with a slight lead, including one taken two weeks ago with Braley up by four points.
You can see Ernst's latest campaign ad, "About," below.