One more reason for Dems to worry: GOP’s Ernst pulls ahead in Iowa

David LightmanTribune News Service

One more reason for Democrats to worry about their chances of keeping a Senate majority: The Iowa race looks competitive.

A new Loras College poll, taken Wednesday and Thursday, found newly-minted Republican nominee Joni Ernst ahead with 48 percent. Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley had 41.7 percent. Braley had led in pre-primary polls.

Some of that may reflect the media coverage of Ernst’s unexpecetedly big primary victory Tuesday, when she crushed her Republican rivals. But it also suggests a tight race to succeed Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, who is retiring after five terms.

One boost for Ernst: 42 percent approved of how President Barack Obama was doing, while 54 percent disapproved. Obama won Iowa by six percentage points in 2012.

Republicans need a net gain of six seats to win control of the Senate.

By David Lightman
McClatchy Washington Bureau