Almost two-thirds of likely Iowa voters polled say it is time for someone other than Chuck Grassley to serve in the U.S. Senate, casting doubt on the prospects of the longest-serving senator in the state’s history.
In a poll published Saturday night by the Des Moines Register, 64 percent of those surveyed said "it’s time for someone else" to occupy that seat, compared to 27 percent who said they’d vote to elect Grassley to an eighth term in 2022. Seven out of 10 female voters said they wanted to see him replaced.
With a 50-50 U.S. Senate likely to be at least somewhat reshaped by the 2022 elections, Iowa’s race is one of the most closely watched in the nation. However, most observers had been waiting to see if Grassley, who will turn 88 in September, was planning to run again before speculating how competitive the race was likely to be.
In the poll, 51 percent of Republicans said they would support Grassley again, but only 7 percent of Democrats and 23 percent of independents shared that view.
Notably, his job approval stood at 45 percent. The Des Moines Register said that is the lowest it has been since 1982. Grassley’s approval rating was one percentage point lower than the state’s other senator, Republican Joni Ernst.
Grassley was first elected in 1980, unseating Democratic incumbent John Culver in the year of Ronald Reagan’s presidential landslide win. He is the longest-serving Republican in the Senate — second only to Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy in current seniority — and 10th on the all-time seniority list. Grassley is also the second-oldest member of the Senate, a few months shy of California Democrat Dianne Feinstein.
The Iowa Poll, conducted June 13-16, for the Des Moines Register and Mediacom by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, was based on telephone interviews with 807 adult Iowans, 630 of whom were listed as likely voters. The margin of error ranged from plus or minus 3.5 percentage points to plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.