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Trump gains ground over Biden in Iowa, poll finds. Ernst leads in a tight Senate race

Four-photo collage of President Trump, Joe Biden, Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield and Republican Iowa Senator Joni Ernst
President Trump, clockwise from upper left, Joe Biden, Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield and Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst.
(Associated Press)

President Trump has recovered ground in Iowa, leading Democratic nominee Joe Biden by 7 points, according to a new Iowa Poll released Saturday night by the Des Moines Register/Mediacom.

The candidates were tied in September at 47% each, but in the new poll, Trump leads Biden 48% to 41%.

The president’s improved standing is because he narrowed the gender gap and increased his support among independents, pollster J. Ann Selzer told the Register.

However, she cautioned, “Neither candidate hits 50%, so there’s still some play here.”

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The survey was conducted Oct. 26 to 29 and has a margin of error in either direction of 3.4 points.

Iowa has traditionally been a swing state — it twice voted for Barack Obama before flipping in 2016 and supporting Trump. But the president’s margin was so large there — more than 9 points, greater than his margin in Texas — that few political observers were paying the state and its six electoral votes much attention in the early stages of the campaign.

That changed as the polling grew tighter this year. Both campaigns started advertising there — Biden has spent $4.7 million there since late September; Trump and the Republican National Committee have spent $1.1 million on ads since late October, according to Advertising Analytics.

Vice President Mike Pence and Biden were in Des Moines on Friday; Trump is scheduled to visit Dubuque on Sunday.

The poll also showed Sen. Joni Ernst leading Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield for the first time this year, 46% to 42%. The race is among those that could determine control of the Senate.

Times staff writer Michael Finnegan contributed to this report.

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