Murphy Pushes Ahead in Democratic 1st District Congressional Primary, Loras College Poll Shows

The Loras College Poll released results Wednesday showing State Representative Pat Murphy with a sizeable lead over the rest of the Democratic field of candidates vying for the nomination in the 1st Congressional District.  With roughly two weeks to go in the five-person race, Murphy has expanded his lead since the last Loras Poll in April.
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 Democratic primary, the results are:
Murphy 34.7 percent
Dandekar                                11.3 percent
Vernon                                               11.3 percent
Kajtozovic                                9.3 percent
O’Brien   3.3 percent
Undecided 28.7 percent

“Murphy continues to benefit from his name recognition, as he is well known in the district.  In fact, only about 10 percent of those surveyed hadn’t heard of him.  That is enviable name recognition for any candidate in any race,” said Associate Professor of Politics and Director of the Loras College Poll, Christopher Budzisz, Ph.D. 
Beyond name recognition, Murphy has also benefited from a crowded field.  “With Vernon, Dandekar, and Kajtozovic splitting votes, no candidate has emerged as the singular alternative to Murphy.  While Vernon and Dandekar are better financed than Murphy and the rest of the field, both remain well back from the frontrunner so far.  These last days will see a flurry of activity as all the candidates seek to distinguish themselves and secure the nomination on June 3 or by driving it to a convention and continuing the fight there,” Budzisz said.  If no candidate receives 35 percent of the primary vote, then the nomination will be decided by a convention. 
The Loras College Poll surveyed 300 likely 1st Congressional District Democratic primary voters May 14-15; 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 Democratic primary or 2012 Democratic 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. 
In addition to the candidate preference question, likely Democratic Primary voters were asked about their job approval of Governor Terry Branstad.  To no surprise, Iowa Democrats were largely disapproving of Branstad’s job performance.  On the question of approval, 77 percent disapprove of his job performance, with 12.3 percent approving and 10 percent undecided.
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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