The ground under Bruce Braley has shifted.
The Democratic U.S. Senate candidate is 6 points behind his GOP rival, Joni Ernst, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll of likely voters.
Ernst leads 44 percent to 38 percent in a race that has for months been considered deadlocked. She leads nearly 4-1 with rural voters, and is up double digits with independents.
“Very interesting, and good news not just for Ernst but also for the GOP’s chances of taking the U.S. Senate,” said national political prognosticator Larry Sabato of “Sabato’s Crystal Ball.”
Just seven months ago, political analysts considered Braley almost a shoo-in for a seat held for 30 years by liberal Democrat Tom Harkin.
Still, the 6-point deficit isn’t insurmountable with 37 days left until the Nov. 4 election, political analysts say. Twelve percent of likely voters remain undecided.
Some of the vulnerabilities for Braley, a lawyer and eight-year congressman: He isn’t winning in his home district, in northeast Iowa. Two-thirds of likely voters think it’s a problem that he missed a large percentage of Veterans Affairs Committee meetings in the U.S. House. Fifty-nine percent think his role in crafting the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, is a problem.