A new NBC/Marist poll of the Iowa Senate race finds Democrat Bruce Braley and Republican Joni Ernst tied at 43 percent. The poll is of registered voters.
The NBC/Marist result is in line with the findings, viewed collectively, of three surveys conducted last month. A Quinnipiac poll had Braley ahead by 4; a Loras College poll had Ernst up by 6; and a Rasmussen poll gave Ernst a 1 point lead.
After the Loras poll results were released, I said that the Rasmussen poll seemed to best reflect the state of the race. The NBC/Marist poll confirms my assessment.
Neither candidate is particularly well known. Only about 70 percent could say whether they view either favorably or unfavorably. (Compare this to the much higher numbers for Jeanne Shaheen and Scott Brown in NBC/Marist’s poll of the New Hampshire Senate race, which Shaheen leads by 8 points).
Thus, even more than in a normal campaign, this race will probably turn on how well the candidates present themselves. But other things being about equal, Ernst will have an edge if, as many expect, Republicans benefit from greater enthusiasm on the part of their potential voters.
And a “war on women” theme presumably will prove less than compelling when trotted out against Joni Ernst.