Grassley leads Finkenauer in test of possible Senate match

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Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley leads Democrat Abby Finkenauer by 18 percentage points among likely voters in an early test of what could be a marquee matchup in the 2022 midterms.

The latest Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll results show Grassley leads 55% to 37% among likely voters. Another 7% are not sure who they would vote for in a head-to-head matchup, and 1% would not vote.

The results show that Grassley, 88, would enter the race as a strong contender should he choose to seek an eighth term in office. He has not yet said whether he plans to run for reelection.

In June, likely voters were asked if they would vote to reelect Grassley, but the question did not name an opponent. Just 27% said they would vote to reelect him, and 64% said they would prefer “someone new.” But in this poll, against a named opponent, most likely voters prefer Grassley.

“It looked like he had some vulnerability, but a majority of likely voters still view him as a winner,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co. “Fifty-five percent is not huge, but it’s solid at this point.”

Fred Halstead, a 56-year-old poll respondent from Spirit Lake, said he’s especially pleased with the way Grassley has supported the state’s agricultural economy and the biofuels industry.

Although he said he generally approves of term limits, he would vote for Grassley again should he run in 2022.

U.S. Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer at a Biden campaign event  on Jan. 18, 2020 at Simpson College's Pfeiffer Hall.

“I’ve just been really pleased with the way he’s represented Iowa and, as far as I’m concerned, Iowa views,” said Halstead, a Republican. “Considering the division that’s currently in Congress at the moment, I think he’s been a pretty effective senator.” 

The poll of 805 Iowa adults, including 620 likely voters, was conducted Sept. 12 to 15 by Selzer & Co. The questions of all Iowans have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; it’s plus or minus 3.9 percentage points for questions asked of likely voters.

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