With Terry Branstad set to make it official today, the timimg is on the money: Daily Kos releases a Research 2000 poll that shows Branstad five points ahead of incumbent Chet Culver, 48-43.
"The governor's race promises serious fireworks," writes Kos:
We polled two other Republicans, but this is the only matchup that matters -- a clash between the incumbent governor and Branstad, a Republican who served four terms as governor, between 1983 and 1999. While both candidates have most of their base behind them (Culver a bit less so than Branstad), the independents provide the margin, leaning toward the Republican 47-42. Clearly, Branstad has a great deal of residual good will left, because in the other two matchups (essentially "generic Republican"), Culver enjoys leads of 22 and 30 points.
We know those "generic Republicans" as Bob Vander Plaats and Chris Rants. Frankly, the Dems best hope is that Vander Plaats and his Christian Soldiers beat up Branstad in a primary and squeak through to a win. Chet leads BVP 55 to 33 and is ahead of Rants 58-28.
That tells me that Culver still has a little room to go up and Branstad, as people start to really remember him, has a lot of room to go down. It's always that way with Dream Candidates who parachute into a race late: the peak on announcement day, then slip as they start to actually campaign. Remember presidents Wes Clark and Fred Thompson?
Speaking of Dream Candidates, Christie Vilsack and Roxanne Conlin have almost identical numbers against Chuck Grassley: 51-40 and 51-39 and it doesn't really matter which one has the extra point. "Neither bring Grassley under the 50 percent mark, but the potential for a competitive race is certainly there," writes Kos.
The actual announced candidates, Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen, have name ID problems, Fiegen more so than Krause. But what's interesting: Grassley only gets up to 52 against Krause and 54 against Fiegen. He's peaking just below that 50 percent mark.
This is the first Kos poll on the specific matchups, but Grassley's job approval rating has dropped from 71 percent (close to his usual re-elect number) in January to the deadly 50 percent today.
Anyway, anyone who's reading this blog would appreciate a look at the whole thing.