Clinton and Trump in tight race in Iowa, Grassley, Young, and Blum with leads, Loras College Poll finds

DUBUQUE, Iowa — With Election Day on Tuesday the final 2016 Loras College Poll of Iowa finds Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican challenger Donald Trump in a virtual tie in the Hawkeye state.

“It looks like things may come down to the wire here in Iowa,” said Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D., associate professor of politics and director of the Loras College Poll. “The presidential race is within the margin of error, and both campaigns will be pushing hard to ensure their supporters get to the polls. Iowa GOP turnout efforts for Election Day may be more important this year than ever before given the role of early voting.”

The statewide live-caller survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Nov. 1-3, and included both landline and cell phones (58-42 split).

Candidate preference four-way matchup—including early voters

Hillary Clinton 44 percent
Donald Trump 43 percent
Gary Johnson   3 percent
Jill Stein   3 percent
Undecided   7 percent

(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)

Early versus Election Day voting
While Clinton holds a one-point advantage in the four-way ballot test that includes responses of those who indicate they have already voted, the picture changes when you look only at those who said they had not yet voted. Excluding early voters, Trump holds a 10-point advantage 47 to 37 percent.

“Given Trump’s advantage with those people who have not yet voted, this election may come down to the relative size of the early vote compared to the size of the turnout,” Budzisz said. “A smaller early vote proportion of total turnout may mean Iowa’s six electoral votes swing toward Trump.”

Net favorability and satisfaction
Likely voters were asked whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates.  The results below indicate candidate net favorability (percentage favorable opinion minus percentage unfavorable opinion). Positive numbers indicate a net favorable view, whereas negative numbers indicate a net unfavorable opinion.

Net favorability: President

Candidate Net Favorability
Hillary Clinton -8
Donald Trump -36

Voters were also asked whether or not they were satisfied with the candidate choices in the presidential race.

Satisfaction with choice of presidential candidates

Satisfied with choice of candidates 42 percent
Dissatisfied with choice of candidates 56 percent
No opinion   3 percent

(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)

“Many Iowans have egative views on the candidates, and they are also more dissatisfied with their choices than satisfied,” Budzisz said. “They may cast their votes through gritted teeth this year.”

U.S. Senate and congressional elections
While the control of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance this year, and individual U.S. Senate races remain close in many states, long-time incumbent Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley holds a strong lead going into Election Day.

Candidate preference U.S. Senate  

Chuck Grassley  53 percent
Patty Judge  37 percent
Charles Aldrich    1 percent
Undecided  8 percent

(Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.)

Beyond the U.S. Senate race, Iowa has two congressional races that have drawn national attention, as first-term incumbent Republican Rod Blum in the First District and David Young in the Third District seek to be returned to Congress. Both were targeted by Democrats as vulnerable going into this election cycle. The final 2016 Loras College Poll sampled additional voters in these districts to measure these congressional races (creating a total random sample of 415 likely voters in IA-1 and 417 likely voters in IA-3).

Candidate preference: IA-1

Rod Blum 47 percent
Monica Vernon 41 Percent
Unsure 12 percent

Candidate Preference: IA-3

David Young 44 percent
Jim Mowrer 39 percent
Unsure 17 percent

“In an otherwise volatile election year, it appears that Iowa’s two first term incumbents hold the advantage going into Election Day,” Budzisz said. “Plenty of undecideds remain, so the campaigns will be pushing for votes until the very end.”

Other noteworthy results from the statewide poll:

  • 54 percent approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance, while 43 percent disapprove.
  • 33 percent say the country is on the right track, while 53 percent say it is headed in the wrong direction.
  • 50 percent say the State of Iowa is on the right track, while 30 percent say it is headed in the wrong direction.
  • 40 percent say that the issue of Clinton’s past email use is very important to them, while 40 percent say it is not very important. Fifteen percent say it is somewhat important, and another 5 percent are undecided.

Note on methodology
The statewide Loras College Poll surveyed 500 likely voters in Iowa. The survey was conducted Nov. 1-3. Margin of error for full statewide sample results is +/- 4.4 percent. Additional likely voters were sampled for IA-1 and IA-3 congressional races (total 415 and 417, respectively).  The margin of error for IA-1 and IA-3 total samples is +/- 4.8 percent. All results calculated at a 95-percent confidence interval.

  • The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
  • Survey conducted with a random sample of registered voters (sample from official voter files provided by third party vendor).
  • The statewide sample was balanced for standard demographic variables such as age and gender.
  • Survey included both landlines and cell phones (58-42 split statewide).
  • Screen for likely voter is report of “definitely” or “very likely” to vote in presidential election in November or who had already voted.
  • Script development and methodology used for the survey received input from Republican campaign consultant Brian Dumas and Democratic campaign consultant Dave Heller.

For toplines and crosstabs, see:

For more information on the Loras Poll, visit Follow on Twitter: @LorasPoll or @ChrisBudzisz.

For more information about Loras College, visit, call 563.588.7100 or (800) 245-6727. Or like Loras College on Facebook or follow @lorascollege.

About the Loras College Poll
The Loras College Poll is conducted several times a year, in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  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.

About Loras College
Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. Loras is ranked 11th out of the Top 100 baccalaureate colleges, according to the 2016 Washington Monthly College Rankings and the 11th Best Regional College, according to Midwest U.S. News Best Colleges.

Dr. Christopher Budzisz, Associate Professor of Politics
Office: 563.588.7279

Thomas Jensen, Public Relations Manager
Office: 563.588.7179 | Cell: 919.930.1997

The Loras College Poll