Iowa is an interesting state in the upcoming Presidential election since its problems are different than those faced by most other places in the nation. While much of the rest of America has struggled economically throughout Obama’s presidency, Iowa has actually done well. So the electoral prospects of the two candidates reflect the strengths of themselves and their political parties.
As we recall from the all-important Des Moines straw poll and the all-important Iowa Republican caucus, the Republican Party has a strong contingent of social conservatives. Also, because of the number of people dependent on agriculture, the Republicans have a source of electoral strength. Finally, Iowa has one of the fewest percentages of minorities in America, groups which typically favor the Democrats.
Democrats have some advantages as well. There are a higher percentage of elderly in Iowa than in virtually any other state. These voters are concerned with maintaining Social Security and Medicare, which are traditionally Democratic issues. As well, there are a high number of union members.
As written earlier, the general economic malaise of the nation is unlikely to be important in Iowa. Instead, the issues which are important to its voters revolve around agriculture. The industry itself is highly dependent on farm subsidies, a peculiar stance from an occupation historically regarded as self-sufficient. Also, agriculture has expanded because of ethanol into energy production. Indeed, Iowa is one of the few states that is a net energy exporter.
Iowa currently has a Republican governor, Terry Branstad, one Democratic Senator and one from the GOP. Of its five House members, three are Republicans.
|Recent Iowa Presidential General Election Match-ups|
The Republicans have had a difficult time in recent elections winning in anything other than a nail-biter. Romney is hoping for a close win here, where he does not have an inherent source of strength.
Here is the current polling from Real Clear Politics. Obama currently has a 2.5% lead.
|2012 Presidential Polls, Iowa, General Election Match-ups|
|Polling Date||Polling Company||Mitt Romney (R)||Barack Obama (D)|
|5/22 – 5/24||NBC News/Marist||44%||44%|
|5/3 – 5/6||PPP||41%||51%|
In this latter table, we see how close this race is at this time. In the three most recent polls, neither candidate has more than a one point advantage.