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Poll: Ernst Widens Lead in Iowa Senate Race

Poll: Ernst Widens Lead in Iowa Senate Race

By Adam O'Neal - October 29, 2014

Iowa U.S. Senate hopeful Joni Ernst is beginning to pull away from her opponent, Bruce Braley, according to a new Quinnipiac University survey. 

Forty-nine percent of likely voters back the Republican state senator, while 45 percent back Rep. Braley. That places Ernst’s lead outside the margin of error, though 5 percent of voters remain undecided. 

Ernst leads by an average of 2.1 percentage points. RCP rates the race a tossup. 

Polling had shown the race -- one of the most pivotal for Republicans hoping to take control of the Senate -- to be narrowing recently, and one survey even showed Braley up by a percentage point. The Democratic congressman trailed in the Quinnipiac survey by only two points earlier this month. 

Independents prefer Ernst 50 percent to 41 percent, according to the new poll. However, Braley has a slight edge among members of his own party (94 percent back him) than Ernst does among her fellow Republicans (90 percent back her). 

And the “reverse gender gap” persists: Braley leads among women by eight percentage points, and men prefer Ernst by 17 points. 

The race remains relatively stable: 91 percent of voters say their mind is made up, while just 9 percent indicate they are open to switching their allegiance. 

The same survey shows Republican Gov. Terry Branstad cruising toward re-election. He leads his opponent, Jack Hatch, by nearly 20 percentage points. 

The survey of 817 likely Iowa voters was conducted Oct. 22-27 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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