Clinton Leads Trump; Grassley and Judge in Tight Race, Loras College Poll Finds

Loras Poll

In its first Iowa statewide survey conducted since Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump became presumptive nominees, the Loras College Poll finds Clinton with a lead in the Hawkeye State.

“It’s still very early in the election season, and many people’s thoughts have turned more to summer vacation than presidential politics, but it is clear that going into the Independence Day holiday, the Clinton campaign has the edge here in Iowa,” commented Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Loras College Poll, Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.

Candidate Preference 2-Way Matchup: Clinton v. Trump

Hillary Clinton  48 percent
Donald Trump  34 percent
Undecided  11 percent
Someone Else  4 percent
Refused  3 percent


Satisfaction with Candidate Choice and Net Favorability

Before likely voters were asked for their specific candidate preferences, they were asked about their satisfaction with the choices they have available to them in the November presidential election.

Very Satisfied 17.5 percent
Somewhat Satisfied 18.7 percent
TOTAL SATISFIED 36.2 percent
Very Dissatisfied 32.7 percent
Somewhat Dissatisfied 27.7 percent
No Opinion/Refused 3.5 percent


Candidate satisfaction among partisans paints a similar picture of dissatisfaction, with only 33 percent of Republicans indicating they are very or somewhat satisfied with the choice of candidates and 47 percent of Democrats saying they are very or somewhat satisfied. Only 29 percent of those who are registered as No Party indicated they were very or somewhat satisfied with the choice of candidates for president.

The new Loras College Poll also asked likely voters whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of both the Democratic and Republican presumptive nominees.  The results below indicate the net favorability of the candidates (percentage favorable opinion minus percentage unfavorable opinion).  Positive numbers indicate a net favorable view, whereas negative numbers indicate a net unfavorable opinion.

Candidate Net Favorability
Hillary Clinton -12
Donald Trump – 41


“With these kind of unfavorable ratings and levels of dissatisfaction, I think many Iowa voters may be holding their noses as they fill out their ballots in November,” remarked Budzisz.

The new Loras College Poll also asked for voter preferences in a four-way race including Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein.


Candidate Preference 4-Way Matchup: Clinton, Trump, Johnson, and Stein 

Hillary Clinton  44 percent
Donald Trump  31 percent
Johnson  6 percent
Stein  2 percent
Undecided 15 percent
Refused 2 percent


“I think third-party candidates, especially libertarian Gary Johnson, have their sights set on having 2016 be a breakthrough year.  Both Johnson and Stein seek to capitalize on voter dissatisfaction and the lack of widespread enthusiasm of the Democratic and Republican candidates,” Budzisz commented.

From the new results, it appears that Johnson’s candidacy impacts the race for president the most, as 9 percent of Republicans surveyed indicated they would definitely or probably vote for Johnson.  “For Trump to win Iowa in November, he is going to need to attract those potential Johnson voters and the undecided.  While Clinton doesn’t appear right now as vulnerable to a loss of votes to a third party candidate, she does face her own potential pitfalls,” Budzisz concluded.

Most of those surveyed (57 percent) expect that Clinton will ultimately win the election, with 23 percent expecting Trump to win.  In some slightly better news for the real estate mogul and reality star-turned-politician, a majority (52 percent) of Republicans and No Party registrants polled indicate the delegates to the National Convention should follow the election results across the country and nominate Trump, while 37 percent indicate the delegates should find another candidate to nominate.  Among only Republicans, Trump’s position improves, as just 30 percent of Republicans polled indicated that GOP delegates at the convention should find another nominee.  “It should be remembered that Texas Senator Ted Cruz won the state on precinct caucus night back in February. I think there is still some hesitation, a ‘wait and see’ approach with some Iowa Republicans regarding their presumptive nominee,” Budzisz commented.

2016 has not always been a typical election year, and much can change over the next four months.  “Beyond events between now and November, the other wildcards in all of this are the national conventions.  Over the years, conventions have become pretty scripted affairs designed to be something like multi-day infomercials for the parties.  However, this year I think many people believe there is some unpredictability, and perhaps volatility, involved—both inside the conventional hall and out in the streets of Cleveland and Philadelphia, the host cities for the conventions,” Budzisz remarked.

A Closer Look at the Electorate

Hillary Clinton holds an advantage among women in a two-way race, with 53 percent of females surveyed choosing Clinton to 29 percent for Trump.  Looking at the composition of supporters for the candidates, 58 percent of Clinton’s support comes from women, with 42 percent coming from men.  For Trump, that breakdown is 54 percent males and 46 percent female.  In this new poll as well, Clinton holds advantages over Trump across age categories, while Trump bests Clinton among those whose highest formal education is high school.

Clinton has the edge among those likely voters registered as No Party in a two-way matchup, receiving support from nearly half of such voters (47 percent), while Trump receives support from 27 percent of No Party registrants polled.

Looking more closely at the relationship between ideology and support for a presidential candidate, it appears that Clinton has consolidated more of her base than Trump, as 92 percent of those identifying themselves as liberal or very liberal indicate they would probably or definitely vote for Clinton in a two-person race with Trump.  Only 66 percent of those identifying themselves as very conservative or conservative indicate they would definitely or probably vote for Trump.  In a two-person race, 15 percent of those likely voters identifying as conservative are undecided in a contest between Trump and Clinton.  Looking more specifically at those who label themselves as very conservative, Trump commands support from 78 percent.

U.S. Senate Election

At the beginning of June, primary voters in Iowa chose their party nominees for U.S. Senate.  The seat is currently held by Republican Chuck Grassley, who is seeking his seventh term in office.  Grassley was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1981.  In June, Democrats chose Patty Judge, former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, to run against the long-term incumbent Republican.  Iowans have begun seeing ads in the Senate race, including from independent outside groups.  The race will continue to intensify as the battle for control of the Senate kicks into high gear.


Candidate Preference U.S. Senate  (600 Likely Voters)

Chuck Grassley  46 percent
Patty Judge  45 percent
Undecided  9 percent


“Senator Grassley is something of an institution here in Iowa, but Democrats are hoping to use his refusal to hold a Senate hearing on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee against him.  I think they are also hoping for a negative down-ballot effect created by Trump as the presidential nominee.  Senator Grassley will not be easy to unseat, however,” commented Budzisz.

Despite the current results showing a close race, voters overwhelmingly expect the incumbent to be returned to office, with 70 percent saying they expect Grassley to win, and only 16 percent expecting Judge to win.

Looking more closely at the U.S. Senate race, Senator Grassley’s net favorability is at +5, while Patty Judge’s is +18.  “These net ratings come with a word of caution, however, as 29 percent of respondents indicated they have no opinion regarding Patty Judge.  As such, Senator Grassley and outside groups can use their resources to paint the picture they want.  The campaign season is likely to drive up Judge’s unfavorable rating.  Still, in this volatile year, Senator Grassley appears to be facing a tougher challenge than most people would have predicted earlier this year,” Budzisz concluded.

Other noteworthy results from the poll:

  • President Obama’s job approval rating stands at 51 percent approval, 45 percent disapproval, with 4 percent undecided.
  • A clear majority (56 percent) of likely voters believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, with less than a third of respondents (30 percent) indicating they believe the country is on the right track.
  • Those who rate Obama favorably and those who think the country is on the right track are likely Clinton supporters. 85 percent of those approving of President Obama’s job performance and 89 percent of those who believe the country is going in the right direction indicate support for Clinton. The reverse is true for Trump supporters, as 76 percent of those disapproving of the President’s job performance indicate they would vote for Trump if the election were held today.
  • 15 percent of Republicans surveyed indicated they would probably or definitely vote for Clinton in a two-person matchup.

For toplines and crosstabs related to today’s release, see:

Note on Methodology: The Loras College Poll surveyed 600 likely Iowa 2016 presidential election voters by live operator.  The survey was conducted June 24-28, 2016.  Margin of error for full sample results is +/- 4%.  Margins of error for subgroups are higher.  All results calculated at a 95% confidence interval.   The partisan composition of the sample was 35 percent Republicans, 33 percent Democrats, and the remaining 32 percent No Party/Other.  Poll results for the complete sample have a margin of error of +/- 4%.  Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

  • Survey conducted with a random sample of registered voters (phone numbers drawn from official Iowa Secretary of State voter files)
  • The statewide sample was balanced for standard demographic variables such as age and gender, with party composition to approximate 2012 presidential electorate in Iowa.
  • Survey included both landlines and cell phones (55 percent and 45 percent, respectively).
  • Screen for likely voter is report of “definitely,” “very,” or “somewhat likely” to vote in presidential election in November. Those indicated only “somewhat likely” to vote were required to pass through an additional screening question related to their interest in politics.
  • The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
  • Script development and methodology used for the survey received input from Republican campaign consultant Brian Dumas and Democratic campaign consultant Dave Heller.

The Loras College Poll is conducted several times each year.  Loras College faculty and student researchers work as part of the survey research team to develop poll questions, analyze and interpret data, and assist with sharing the final results with local, regional and national media.

The Loras College Poll website is:

Follow on Twitter: @LorasPoll or @ChrisBudzisz