Biden has a narrow lead in Iowa and the Senate race is tight, polls show

Joseph R. Biden Jr. has a narrow lead President Trump In Iowa, a state that Mr. Trump promoted by more than nine percentage points in 2016, and the high-stakes race there for the Senate, it appears to be getting even closer, according to a poll published Wednesday by the New York Times / Siena College.

Mr Biden leads Mr Trump at 46 to 43 percent among likely Iowa voters, with 7 percent saying they are undecided or refusing to name a preference, according to the survey. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican whose re-election campaign could help determine control of the Senate, receives 45 percent support, while Theresa Greenfield, her Democratic opponent, has 44 percent.

Mr Biden, the former vice president, is driven by women, younger voters, and white college-educated voters. The same population structure raises it across the country. But it is also stronger in Iowa among senior and white working-class voters than in other similarly Republican states.

Mr Biden is the leader among voters 65 and over with 49 to 42 percent, and he is only seven points among white voters without a college degree, 48 to 41 percent behind Mr Trump.

The poll, which polled 753 likely Iowa voters October 18-20, showed a sample error rate of approximately four percentage points.

Iowa’s increasing competitiveness was evident last week when Mr Trump returned to the state for the first time since the start of the year and held a rally at Des Moines Airport. Mr. Biden has not appeared in the state since the February Democratic Assemblies.

The fact that Mr Biden has a chance to run against Iowa at all is remarkable given his recent political leanings. After former President Barack Obama wore it twice, the state swung resolutely to Mr. Trump in 2016and even a well-funded Democratic candidate for governor fell too short two years later.

Yet, as in other Midwestern states, Mr. Trump’s fire behavior has alienated many voters and returned them to their democratic roots. The president is viewed as an unfavorable by more than half of the likely Iowa voters and by more than half of the women and college graduates there.

Charissa Frangione, 34, a small business owner and councilor in Marcus, Iowa, voted for Mr. Trump four years ago but said she has pissed him off since then. In 2016, I just thought: Who better to put the economy back in order than a businessman? She said.

“Unfortunately, I just don’t feel that he has met my expectations as president,” said Ms. Frangione. “Even the good things he does are washed away by his behavior.” She has already voted for Mr Biden by mail.

Unlike Hillary Clinton, who was as unpopular as Mr. Trump in pre-election polls like Mr. Trump, Mr. Biden is not as polarizing as the president: Less than half of those surveyed viewed him unfavorably. And while 47 percent of independent voters had a very unfavorable view of Mr. Trump, only 27 percent of independents felt the same animus towards Mr. Biden.

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While Mr Biden may not need Iowa’s six votes to claim the presidency, the state could prove more crucial in the Senate battle. Should Mr Biden be elected, the Democrats would have to get three seats to take control of the chamber. And few Senate races seem as competitive as the one in Iowa, where outside groups on behalf of both candidates saturate the state’s breezes.

Ms. Ernst was one of the 2014 midterm winners who, memorably, aired an ad commemorating her teenage days castrating pigs and promising to cut the pork in Washington. But she has proven to be vulnerable this year.

She clearly suffers from the division of Mr. Trump, as evidenced by her deficits in women and white college graduates, but she does not enjoy the intensity of the President’s support from Iowa Republicans. While 73 percent of them have a very positive opinion of Mr. Trump, only 57 percent see Ms. Ernst the same way.

Ms. Greenfield, a businesswoman and a first-time candidate, has benefited from not being very well defined. While 47 percent of Iowans in the poll had an unfavorable opinion of Ms. Ernst, only 38 percent said the same thing about Ms. Greenfield.

Still, Ms. Ernst is sometimes stronger than Mr. Trump because she is more palatable to independent voters. While Mr Trump is 17 points behind with these unaffiliated Iowans, Ms. Ernst is only seven points behind with the same group. While Mr Trump is chasing after among seniors, Ms. Ernst and Ms. Greenfield are tied among older voters.

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Both the presidential contest and Senate campaign remain fluid: over 10 percent of likely voters in each race said they were undecided or voting for a third party candidate, or did not want to say who to vote for.

Here are the Crosstabs for the survey.

Isabella Grullón Paz contributed to the coverage.

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