The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up


IA: Pollwatch (PPP) Could Vander Plaats Surprise Branstad?

By · Jun, 01 2010

The GOP’s Hawkeye State Civil War may be closer than most observers think.

With one week to go, former Governor Terry Branstad has a 15-point lead over his lesser-known opponent Bob Vander Plaats, according to a new survey from Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling.  State Rep. Rod Roberts is a distant third. The well-known, much better funded Branstad’s failure to reach 50% may mean a surprise is brewing in the midwest.

Vander Plaats’ major obstacle is his relative anonymity among primary voters – 34% say they did not have an opinion about him. Only 22% said that about Branstad, who served 16 years as Iowa’s chief executive in the 1980s and 90s.

Hoping to change those numbers, Vander Plaats recently began airing two campaign ads statewide, one attacking Branstad and the other Democratic incumbent Chet Culver.

PPP found that conservative Republicans – who are the bulk of the primary electorate – are closely split between the two.

GOP Primary Vote
  Overall Liberal Moderate Conservative
Branstad 46% 62% 58% 41%
Roberts 13% 28% 14% 11%
Vander Plaats 31% 10% 19% 35%
Undecided 11%   9% 12%

In a blog post, Public Policy sees Branstad as a  surprisingly vulnerable favorite:

Terry Branstad served as Governor of Iowa for four terms. Bob Vander Plaats’ only experience with political office has been losing campaigns for it. But fueled by support from conservatives and an anti-establishment environment Vander Plaats appears to at least have a chance at pulling a big upset in next week’s primary. Branstad currently stands at a surprisingly low 46%, followed by Vander Plaats at 31% and Rod Roberts at 13%.

The race is particularly tight among the conservative voters who have been giving GOP establishment candidates fits across the country so far in 2010. With them Branstad leads Vander Plaats only 41-35. He expands his overall lead thanks to a 58-19 advantage with moderates.

Among voters that actually know who Vander Plaats is- whether they see him favorably or unfavorably- he leads Branstad 42-37

Vander Plaats’ ads after the jump…His anti-Culver ad talks about the economy and job creation.

The other ad takes on both governors as soft on immigration:

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