A sharp drop in Iowa’s unemployment rate could benefit President Trump and Republican Sen. Joni Ernst as they battle for the state’s backing for reelection.
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The state’s unemployment rate in September fell to 4.7%, the fifth-lowest in the country, after topping out at 11% in April.
The economy is the most important issue for 31% of likely voters, the highest of any issue, according to a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll released on Sept. 23.
“Under my administration, we built the greatest economy in the history of the world, and now we’re doing it again,” Trump said at a rally in Des Moines on Oct. 14. “We’ve got a V-shape, we’re going to see some very big numbers and you’re seeing it.”
Biden hasn't campaigned in the state since the caucuses earlier this year.
A majority of Americans (56%) said they are better off now than they were four years ago, according to a Gallup Poll released Sunday.
That was higher than at the same point in the terms of former Presidents Barack Obama (45%), George W. Bush (47%), George H.W. Bush (38%) and Ronald Reagan (44%). Only George H.W. Bush did not win reelection. Data from the same point in former President Bill Clinton’s term was not included.
Evidence of an economic rebound in Iowa will be critical for both Trump and Ernst who are locked in tight races in the state.
Trump trails former Vice President Joe Biden by 1.5 points in Iowa, according to an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics. Ernst, meanwhile, lags her Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield by 2.5 points.
While a strengthening Iowa economy will help bolster support among Republicans in the state, 49% of which say it’s their most important issue, it will also likely help sway independent voters, according to the Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. Twenty-nine percent of independents viewed the economy as their top issue, followed by law and order and COVID-19 at 17% and 16%, respectively.
“A vote for Republicans is a vote for safe communities, great jobs and a limitless future for all Americans,” Trump said.