Republican Joni Ernst has a 6-point lead over Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley in the race in Iowa to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, said a poll released Wednesday.
Fifty percent of likely voters favor Ms. Ernst and 44 percent opt for Mr. Braley, according to the survey from Quinnipiac University.
Ms. Ernst leads by 17 points among men, 56 percent to 39 percent, while Mr. Braley leads by 6 points among women, 50 percent to 44 percent. Independent voters opt for Ms. Ernst by a 7-point margin, 50 percent to 43 percent.
“The tale of independent voters tells you all you need to know about the Iowa Senate race,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. “These independents are perhaps the most important voter bloc in the electorate, and State Sen. Joni Ernst is ahead 7 percentage points among them, just about her overall lead. The key to any comeback by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley will be chipping away at her lead among independents.”
Mr. Brown also said there is also a message to President Obama in the numbers. Twenty-eight percent of likely voters say their vote in the race is mainly a vote against the president, while 12 percent say it is mainly a vote for Mr. Obama.
“If these results show up in other states, it could produce the kind of wave for which Republicans are hoping,” Mr. Brown said.
The survey of 1,167 likely voters taken from Sept. 10-15 has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.