Since the start of the year, Democrats in Iowa have added about twice as many active voters to their rolls as Republicans, nudging ahead in total registration for the first time in years. The farm economy has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. And though Trump still holds a small lead in the state, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, he’s now airing TV advertisements there — a tacit acknowledgment that the campaign anticipates a contest.
…in recent weeks — amid the coronavirus pandemic and widespread civil unrest since the death of George Floyd — Trump has fallen further behind Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in public opinion polls everywhere. A CNN poll on Monday put Biden ahead of Trump by 14 percentage points nationally, and Biden is leading Trump in most swing states. Trump is now advertising in states he won comfortably in 2016, including Iowa, where he has spent more than $300,000 on TV in recent weeks, according to data from the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics.
“The fact that they’re advertising here, they wouldn’t waste the money if they didn’t need to,” said Doug Gross, a Republican operative who was a chief of staff to former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad [David Siders, “‘Blood in the Water’: Dems Get Unexpected Opening Against Trump in Iowa,” Politico, 2020.06.10].
One could apply Gross’s thinking to Trump’s pending Mount Rushmore visit and wonder why he’d waste any precious campaign time in South Dakota. More South Dakota Democrats are apparently moving to Iowa than staying here and registering neighbors to vote D: according to the Secretary of State’s June 1 count, since January 1, South Dakota Republicans have added 4,276 voters to the 257,325 they had at New Year’s, while South Dakota Democrats have added only 317 new voters to their January 2 count of 154,005. Republicans hold 47% of South Dakota’s electorate, while Democrats are sliding down to 28%.
But hey, faithful commenter Mike! You get a chance to cast a vote that makes a difference… and you get lots more TV ads to laugh at!