Should we expect an active legislative session?

January 22, 2015 0 Comments

The fundamentals of the state have not changed. Economic factors, particularly the state’s unemployment rate, is relatively stable (and low) and continues to remain well below the federal unemployment rate. The political atmosphere has also remained relatively stagnant. Yes, the 2014 elections produced some big national changes, but the effects were relatively mild in Iowa. […]

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Does the State of the Union matter?

January 20, 2015 0 Comments

Will President Obama’s’ words tonight matter in terms of public policy?  To find out, see the links below for research conducted by UNI political professor and department head, Donna Hoffman.  New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/02/12/us/politics/state-of-the-union-success.html?_r=0  Washington Times: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jan/20/obama-has-worst-state-union-record-ford-study-show/ (NOTE: Professor Hoffman’s research actually shows that Obama’s record is similar to President Reagan, not just President Ford.) […]

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“Governor proposes, legislature disposes”

January 13, 2015 0 Comments

Governor Branstad delivered his 20th Condition of the State address this morning ahead of his formal inauguration this Friday.   And, in this case, the structure and content of the speech was largely predictable. Condition of the State addresses, like State of the Union speeches, provide governors a pulpit from which to espouse policy as well […]

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Key numbers for the U.S. Senate race

November 6, 2014 0 Comments

Turnout: Turnout on Tuesday was 70 percent of the turnout in 2012. If it had been 80 percent of the turnout in 2012, and Braley had won 75 percent of the additional votes, he still would have lost by over 18,800 votes, or about 1.6 percentage points.  Consider also that a Pew Research Center study […]

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Ridiculous

October 23, 2014 0 Comments

Election 2014 pop quiz: 1.) The Iowa General Assembly passed the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” (FALSE) 2.) Candidates for the Iowa legislature voted to increase the national debt. (FALSE) 3.) All members of Congress are selfish and wasteful. (FALSE) You decide which is worse: That campaign ads are implying the above statements […]

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Braley wins again

October 16, 2014 0 Comments

The third and final debate for the open U.S. Senate seat in Iowa between Congressman Bruce Braley and State Senator Joni Ernst was a virtual repeat of last Saturday’s debate.  We saw more platitudes and few specifics from State Senator Ernst, while Congressman Braley appeared more decisive, providing more depth on several issues, particularly during […]

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Braley more decisive in 2nd debate

October 11, 2014 0 Comments

Congressman Bruce Braley was clearly the more decisive candidate in tonight’s second U.S. Senate debate with State Senator Joni Ernst.  With the exception of questions on foreign policy and immigration, Senator Ernst seemed more interested in expressing Republican boilerplate, even if such language didn’t fit with the original question. On the first question about bipartisanship, […]

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Economic clashes

September 29, 2014 0 Comments

Iowans going to the polls face the prospect of voting for several competitive elected offices this November.  The big unknown is what voters will be thinking about as they move down the ballot.  Political science research tells us that voters think about the president and federal economy (i.e. federal unemployment rate) when voting for federal […]

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Presidential drag

September 21, 2014 0 Comments

The gubernatorial race in Iowa appears all but over.  The most recent Quinnipiac Poll has incumbent Terry Branstad ahead by 23 percentage points over his challenger, State Senator Jack Hatch.  There was little movement in the polls following the first debate between the two candidates, and as Jennifer Jacobs of the Des Moines Register reports […]

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Branstad pulling away

August 30, 2014 0 Comments

Polls released this week by Public Policy Polling (PPP) and Suffolk University/USA Today show Governor Branstad to be in a strong position for November.  In a previous blog, I noted that his approval rating has been trending upward since 2011, and that the polling source significantly affects such ratings.  To recap, based on 25 polls, […]

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