Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Short Takes: Culver in deep trouble in Iowa



Iowa Gov. Chet Culver is in deep trouble in his Iowa re-election bid. (AP Photo/Kevin Sanders)

In another sign of the dangerously strong anti-incumbent current in the country, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) appears to be in political free fall, trailing his strongest Republican opponent by more than 20 points in new independent polling in the Hawkeye State.

The survey, conducted by J. Ann Selzer for the Des Moines Register, shows that just four in ten Iowans approve of the job Culver is doing -- a double-digit drop from a mid-September Selzer survey. Culver has strongly net job approval numbers on how he has handled the state's budget (37/54) and improving the business climate (37/50).

And, just one in three Iowans (34 percent) believe the state is headed in the right direction while 57 percent believe it is off on the wrong track. That's the most pessimistic view of the state of the state in a decade's worth of polling, according to Selzer.

It's not surprising given those numbers that Culver trails former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) by a 57 percent to 33 margin. But, perhaps more revealing is that Culver trails 2006 candidate Bob Vander Plaats 45 percent to 38 percent despite the fact that roughly two-thirds of Iowans don't know enough about Vander Plaats to offer an opinion.

What those numbers mean is that -- at the moment -- Iowans are in the mood to give anyone other than Culver a chance up to and including someone they barely know.

It's more evidence of the anti-incumbent sentiment we wrote about last week. Anyone currently in elected office -- no matter how safe they may seem at the moment -- has reason to be wary of the electorate heading into next year.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 16, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , Short Takes  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The most important number in (Palin) politics today
Next: Malek on Palin: "She's obviously touching a need"

Comments

This was the Iowa Poll which has been commissioned by the Des Moines Register for several decades. So it makes no sense to claim that the poll must be bogus.

Culver has been running campaign commercials for at least three months and maybe longer, which is unprecedented I think this long before the 2010 election. Culver would not have enough money for these commercials except for contributions from Hollywood -- his main support has been the same as Tom Harkin's, and neither one could win an election if they had to rely only on money from supporters in Iowa.

The Democratic majority in the legislature came very close to repealing Iowa's status as a right-to-work state earlier this year... payback for the unions, but it would have devastated Iowa's chances of attracting business and new jobs. Also, as far as I know, most of the stimulus money went to projects built with union labor; it could have created more jobs had non-union companies been eligible to bid on those projects, but Culver's union friends were adamantly opposed.

Posted by: JBaustian | November 17, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I think the simple solution to anti-incumbency is for incumbents to get out there and make their case to the voters. Anyone who has only been in office for a couple of years is NOT the person the public should be angry with. It isn't just the politicians who owe diligence. voters need to step up to the plate, keep their eye on the ball and take their best swings, too.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | November 17, 2009 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Another day another Democrat in trouble. I love how delusional they are. Hope it lasts through 2010 until 2012.

Posted by: kenpasadena | November 16, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

"But, perhaps more revealing is that Culver trails 2006 candidate Bob Vander Plaats 45 percent to 38 percent despite the fact that roughly two-thirds of Iowans don't know enough about Vander Plaats to offer an opinion."

This tells me the poll is clearly bogus and probably not worth referencing. How can you express support for someone you don't even know? As well, the anti-incumbent narrative is a complete BroderWorld invention.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | November 16, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Bismon,

The only person less competent than Pawlenty is Culver, but I am sure you consider that debatable. A Culverism…when is a tax not a tax…when it’s a non-refundable deposit.

Posted by: sltiowa1 | November 16, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget what sort of candidates the Republicans are going to run from now on.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 16, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"As for those of you who suggest Republicans are going to suffer from the anti-incumbent mode. There are many more Democratic governor seats being targeted than Republicans"

By whom, is the point. Far fewer Dems are eating their own.

Posted by: drindl | November 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Brandstad & Grassley are very likely to be elected easily in 2010. Brandstad for Governor & Grassley will be reelected for US Senate hands down. A few US House seats will also be in jeapordy of going back Republican in Iowa. Iowa will be a big Republican state in 2010!

As for those of you who suggest Republicans are going to suffer from the anti-incumbent mode. There are many more Democratic governor seats being targeted than Republicans

Democratic seats in trouble: Maine, New York, Massachussetts, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Oregon, Colorodo, New Mexico & Wyoming. Of those, Massachussetts & New Mexico look to be in the best of shape for now. The rest are really leaning Republican.

Republican seats in trouble: Hawii, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, California & Nevada. Nevada looks to be alot better for Republicans now that Sandoval is in the race. In Hawii, Connecticut & Vermont there are Lt. Governor's running. In California, it's a huge primary for the R nomination. In RI, Republican's goose are cooked barring some major development.

Posted by: reason5 | November 16, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"Funny how this "anti-incumbent" thing only comes up when there's a Democrate at the short end of the stick

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite"

Part of it is that governors of large states tend to be more afflicted by this anti-incumbency sentiment than small states. And larger states tend to elect Democrats. The governor of California would be in deep trouble if he were not term limited out.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 16, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"Funny how this "anti-incumbent" thing only comes up when there's a Democrate at the short end of the stick"

Not that many Republican incumbents these days. And many of them are really unpopular. You think Gov Carcieri in RI would be reelected if he weren't term-limited?

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 16, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Sucks to be a governor these days.

Posted by: DDAWD | November 16, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Funny how this "anti-incumbent" thing only comes up when there's a Democrate at the short end of the stick

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | November 16, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I see a ripe opportunity for Gov Pawlenty. He's spent enough time in Iowa lately to declare his residency there; Taking on Culver sounds like the perfect springboard for entry into the 2012 Caucuses.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 16, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company