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Iowa Senate: Incumbent Harkin Has Strong Lead in Hawkeye State

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin is enjoying a double-digit lead in his bid for re-election according to the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state. The Senator leads Republican challenger Christopher Reed 53% to 37% in the Hawkeye State.

While Harkin has a dominating thirty-point lead among women, the candidates are essentially even among men. The incumbent is supported by 87% of Democrats and leads Reed 53% to 27% among voters not affiliated with either major political party. Reed earns the vote from 82% of Republicans.

Harkin earns support from 23% of conservative voters, 67% of moderate voters, and 83% of liberal voters. Reed’s attracts 69% of conservatives, 22% of moderates, and just 8% of liberal voters.

Harkin is viewed favorably by 59% of voters and unfavorably by 38%. Reed, who has not held political office in the state, is less known. His ratings are 43% favorable, 24% unfavorable, and 32% have no opinion of the businessman and Navy veteran. Even those numbers overstate public awareness of the challenger since most opinions of him are very soft. Just 10% have a Very Favorable opinion of Reed and 7% have a Very Unfavorable opinion of him. By way of contrast, three times as many voters have a strong opinion about the incumbent--29% Very Favorable and 22% Very Unfavorable.

At this point, Election 2008 is shaping up to be a good year for Senate Democrats. At least nine Republican Senate seats are potentially in play for Democrats including seats in Minnesota, Alaska, Oregon, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Colorado, Mississippi, Virginia, and Kentucky.

So far, just two Democratic incumbents are polling below 50%--Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey.

Rasmussen Markets data suggests that Harkin is currently given a % chance of keeping his job after November’s election. These figures are updated on a 24/7 basis by market participants.

Iowa’s governor, Chet Culver (D), earns positive ratings from 41% of voters. A fifth of voters (20%) say he is doing a poor job as governor.

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Iowa Safe Democratic

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In Trade

2002 Results

Reed (R)




Harkin (D)




This telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on June 10, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

See Methodology.

Favorable Ratings for Senate Candidates in Iowa




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Somewhat Favorable



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About Rasmussen Reports

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic publishing firm specializing in the collection, publication, and distribution of public opinion polling information.

The Rasmussen Reports ElectionEdge™ Premium Service for Election 2008 offers the most comprehensive public opinion coverage ever provided for a Presidential election.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.