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Iowa 3rd District - Zaun vs. Boswell


Leonard Boswell

Leonard Boswell (D)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Brad Zaun

Brad Zaun (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Iowa Snapshot

RCP Ranking:
2010 Key Races:
Governor | Senate | IA-1 | IA-2

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

2006: Governor | IA-1 | IA-3
2004: President | Senate | IA-3

Polling Data

PollDateSampleBoswell (D)Zaun (R)Spread
Final Results----50.846.6Boswell +4.2
The Hill/Penn, Schoen & Berland (D)10/19 - 10/21404 LV4937Boswell +12
Voter/Consumer Res/AFF (R)8/31 - 9/3300 RV4839Boswell +9
AAF/Ayers (R)8/16 - 8/18400 LV4151Zaun +10

Previous Election Results

  2008: Boswell (D) 56%, Schmett (R) 42%   2008: Obama (D) 54%, McCain (R) 45%
  2006: Boswell (D) 52%, Lambert (R) 47%   2004: Bush (R) 49.7%, Kerry (D) 49.6%
  2004: Boswell (D) 55%, Thompson (R) 45%   2000: Gore (D) 49%, Bush (R) 48%

Race Analysis

10/27/10 -- Zaun has been the brunt of particularly bad publicity here, and it has taken a toll on his polling numbers.  Boswell looks like he may well live to fight another day.

----------Race Preview---------

Iowa’s 3rd District is the most urbanized district in the state. Nearly three-fourths of the district’s population lives in cities (for the most part, they live in Des Moines). Iowa’s districts are drawn by an independent commission which pays no attention to past voting behavior or even the incumbents’ addresses. The results are some of the quirkier districts in the country, districts which all include diverse populations and defy easy classification. The district is a classic swing district, voting narrowly for George W. Bush in 2004, but swinging to Barack Obama in 2008.

Leonard Boswell has had a target on his back since the day he was first elected in 1996. Jim Ross Lightfoot left the seat vacant as part of his unsuccessful bid against Tom Harkin, and Boswell narrowly claimed the seat with 49 percent of the vote. Boswell has been something of a political escape artist ever since, winning every election since then with under 60 percent of the vote except one, including a 52 percent win in the good Democratic year of 2006 and a 56 percent win in the even better year (for Democrats) of 2008.

This may finally be the year that history catches up with Boswell. He hasn’t been in particularly good health, and there are questions whether the 76-year-old can withstand a difficult campaign. In addition, his credentials as a moderate conservative will be difficult to maintain in the face of his fairly regular support for the Obama administration’s major initiatives. Boswell will face off against state Senator Brad Zaun.