Blum Expands Lead in GOP 1st District Congressional Primary, Loras College Poll Shows

The Loras College Poll released results Wednesday showing Dubuque businessman Rod Blum expanding his lead for the Republican nomination in the 1st Congressional District.  With two weeks to go, Blum has a roughly 2-to-1 advantage on Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje in the current Loras College Poll.  The other official candidate in the Republican race, Gail Boliver, is a distant third.
Congressional District 1 is an open seat this election cycle as the current incumbent, Representative Bruce Braley, is running for the U.S. Senate to replace the retiring Senator Tom Harkin.  The lack of incumbent, coupled with trends in midterm elections and Iowa as a competitive electoral environment, means that national attention will increase on this race after the nominees are decided.
In the Congressional District 1 GOP primary, the results are
Blum                           31.4 percent
Rathje                         15.6 percent
Boliver                          2.4 percent
Undecided 48.7 percent

 “Since our last poll in April, things are shaping up more clearly in the 1st District GOP race,” said Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Loras College Poll, Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D.  “While there are still quite a few undecideds out there, Blum has emerged with a sizeable lead going into the stretch run.  He has nearly doubled his level of support from our last poll.”
“Blum is not an unfamiliar name to GOP primary voters in the area as he unsuccessfully sought the nomination last election, said Budzisz. “His name recognition advantage in our poll certainly is clear.  This may be his year.  Perhaps the second time’s a charm.”
Both Blum and Rathje have improved their standing since the last Loras Poll, with Boliver essentially unchanged.  “Rathje has a very difficult task ahead of him given the lack of time and his disadvantage to Blum on name recognition, but our polling does show that many people are still undecided,” Budzisz commented.  Unlike some of the discussion of other races across the state, the 1st District race looks to be decided on June 3 and not at a convention.  “It appears that Boliver will have an extremely hard time playing the role of spoiler to force a convention.  He just has not turned this into a real three-person race,” Budzisz remarked.    
The Loras College Poll surveyed 300 likely 1st Congressional District GOP primary voters May 15; district results have a 5.65 percent margin of error. 
  • Survey includes both landlines (80 percent) and cell phones (20 percent). 
  • Lists for the sample included only those who voted in the 2010 Republican primary or 2012 Republican primary.
  • The survey was conducted using live operator interviews through a contracted professional call center.
  • In addition, the survey was balanced using historical voting patterns for age, gender and geography.  Script development and methodology used for the survey received input from Republican campaign consultant, Steve Grubbs, and Democrat campaign consultant, Dave Heller. 
For more on today’s announced results, please click here.
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 the data and assist with sharing the final results with local, regional and national media. 
Capitalizing on its location in the politically vital and vibrant state of Iowa, the Iowa Presidential Caucuses serves as a cornerstone of the Loras College Poll, with additional surveys focused on current events, social issues, economic issues, politics and more.
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