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Hawkeye Poll: Romney leads among likely Iowan voters

BY NICK HASSETT | NOVEMBER 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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The latest University of Iowa Hawkeye Poll shows GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney leading among likely voters, though one political-science professor thinks it’s still anyone’s race.

The poll, conducted by students in UI political-science Associate Professor Fred Boehmke’s Hawkeye Poll course, surveyed a random sample of 320 voting age Iowans on a range of topics, including the presidential election, judicial retention, and the economy.

Though Romney had a lead among self-reported likely voters, 45.2 percent for Romney to President Obama at 44.4 percent, Obama led among all respondents, with 42.7 percent going to Obama compared with 41 percent for Romney. However, the results for both fall within the margin of error of 5.6 percent.

Tim Hagle, a UI associate professor of political science, said such differences are not unusual.

“The race is so close that you can’t put too much weight on any one poll,” he said.

While Boehmke thinks the race continues to be close, he believes Romney may be gaining an edge.

“Things may be moving his way,” he said. “We could be seeing a shift toward Romney here in Iowa.”

The poll also surveyed potential voters about the issue of judicial retention, with most supporting the retainment of Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins.

Several organizations have surfaced campaigning for and against Wiggin’s retainment.  The poll questioned voters on their opinion of the campaigns.

Of those who planned to vote on retainment, roughly 53 percent said they’d vote in favor of retaining Wiggins, while 30.4 percent planned to vote against it and 16.7 percent were not sure.

Many identified along party lines, Democrats largely favoring the retention of Wiggins, while Republicans opposed. Both were not in favor of the increasing campaigning on the issue, with 64 percent agreeing that campaigning undermines judicial independence.

One unique aspect of the Hawkeye Poll is that it is almost entirely conducted by undergraduate students.

Boehmke said the poll offers a unique research and teaching tool, where students would develop questions and spend time calling Iowans for the poll. With a reported 17.2 percent response rate among those called, it wasn’t a fast process.

“We probably spent 10 to 12 hours outside class making phone calls,” said Liza Minor, a UI senior in the Hawkeye Poll class.

With Election Day drawing near and the results of the poll coming out, Hagle said the presidential campaigns have work to do.

“Both campaigns need to work as hard as they can to get those registered and likely voters to come out,” he said. “We’ll just have to wait and see how it all turns out election night.”


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