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Electoral College Analysis: Iowa

Iowa's Electoral Votes: 7

Washington Post Analysis:

Kerry revived his candidacy when he scored a surprising victory in the Democratic caucuses here last winter, which launched him to the nomination. But he has been struggling here this fall in a state the Democrats have not lost since 1984. Bush lost the state in 2000 by fewer than 4,200 votes and has returned repeatedly during his presidency. Iowa's farm economy is booming, and Bush has strength in the rural areas, where his conservative cultural positions play well.

The president also has tried to tap the tax issue by signing his most recent tax-cut bill in Des Moines. But while the state unemployment rate remains below the national average, Iowa has lost 27,000 manufacturing jobs during Bush's presidency and Kerry has seized on the recent announcement that Maytag will be closing a plant in the state to stoke middle-class fears about job security and the loss of health insurance.

Kerry ignored the state earlier this fall when Bush was returning repeatedly, which Kerry advisers now concede was a mistake. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) warned Kerry's headquarters a few weeks ago that voters needed to see more of Kerry and Edwards in the final weeks.

Iowa is a classic example of a state where civic participation is a given. About 95 percent of eligible Iowans are registered to vote, and high turnouts are the norm.

Since 2000, Democrats have virtually eliminated the GOP's traditional registration advantage. Polls have shown a dead heat in Iowa, and a new poll in Sunday's Des Moines Register shows Kerry leading Bush 48 to 45 percent. Democrats believe that if Kerry is tied or even a point down heading into Tuesday's balloting, he can win on the ground, but Republicans see Iowa as Bush's best chance in the upper Midwest.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R) is heading toward another easy victory. Rep. Leonard L. Boswell (D) is the only incumbent in a competitive race this year, but he is favored to win.

Bush, Kerry in Reach of Electoral Win
By David S. Broder, Dan Balz and Charles Babington
(The Washington Post, Oct. 31, 2004)

Recent Polls

Source: Reuters/Zogby
Respondents: 602 likely voters
Time: Oct 29 - Nov. 1
Margin of Error: +/- 4.1

Kerry 50%
Bush 45%
Other 2%
Undecided 4%

Source: CNN-USA Today-Gallup
Respondents: 1,119 likely voters
Time: Oct 27 - 30
Margin of Error: +/- 3%

Bush 48%
Kerry 46%
Nader 2%
Undecided 4%

Source: Selzer & Co.-Des Moines Register
Respondents: 806 likely voters
Time: Oct 25 - 29
Margin of Error: +/- 3.5%

Kerry 48%
Bush 45%
Nader 1%
Undecided 6%

Source: MSNBC-Knight-Ridder (by Mason-Dixon)
Respondents: 625 likely voters
Time: Oct 26 - 29
Margin of Error: +/- 4

Bush 49%
Kerry 44%
Other/Undecided 7%

Source: American Research Group
Respondents: 600 likely voters
Time: Oct 25 - 27
Margin of Error: +/- 4%

Bush 48%
Kerry 47%
Nader 1%
Undecided 4%

Is Nader on the ballot: Yes

Past Presidential Vote Breakdowns

Gore (D): 49%
Bush (R): 48%

Clinton (D): 50%
Dole (R): 40%

Clinton (D): 43%
Bush (R): 37%
Perot (I): 19%

Dukakis (D): 55%
Bush (R): 44%

Current Elected Officials

name (party), year last elected, percent won

Tom Vilsack (D), 2002, 53%

Tom Harkin (D), 2002, 54%
Charles E. Grassley (R), 1998, 68%

1 Democrat
4 Republicans

More on Iowa:

Ready for Old-Fashioned Ground War (The Washington Post, Oct. 11, 2004)

THE STATE OF DUBUQUE: Politics From the Ground Up
Battleground in the Heartland (The Washington Post, March 30, 2004)

All Iowa Races

Discuss the Race to Win Iowa

Reader's Forum

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