Iowans reaffirmed its support for President Donald Trump, giving him another victory in the Hawkeye state, albeit with an apparently smaller lead than in 2016.
Trump’s victory in Iowa secured him six votes on the electoral college, putting him on the road to victory until the state was called. Four years ago, Trump had beaten then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton by nearly 10 percentage points, but on Tuesday he was less than two points ahead of Biden on average.
The president’s appeal to Iowans seemed to fade over the past four years – or Biden’s appeal to Clinton increased – and his victory in that state was only about seven points when Fox News and Associated Press made the call. CNN later called Iowa for Trump as well. However, Biden’s lead could change when the final votes are tabulated.
Preya Samsundar, the GOP communications director for Iowa, Minnesota, told Washington Newsday that they “never left Iowa” after the 2016 elections and continued to build relationships with voters there.
The ability to tap into the enthusiasm “early” gave the campaign momentum and an advantage that Biden’s team did not have. On Sunday, the President visited Iowa as part of his five-state tour, and on the eve of election day, the President’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, ventured to Des Moines to campaign for her father.
On Friday, Biden, who finished fourth in the Iowa caucus in February, visited Des Moines and criticized the president for his response to the pandemic and his trade policy with China in an appeal to Iowa’s agribusiness community.
By the time election day was scheduled, more than 95 percent of Iowans who had requested a postal vote had returned it, according to the U.S. election project. The Democrats had a slight lead over the Republicans in the postal vote, as they had returned half a percent more of the requested ballots.
By Tuesday, a total of 955,975 ballots had been returned by mail, the U.S. Elections Project reported. For a postal ballot to be counted in the Iowa elections, it must be postmarked by Monday noon and received at the district auditor’s office no later than Monday noon after the election.
While Democrats led the way on postal ballots, there are more registered Republicans than registered Democrats in the state. For at least 20 years there were more “non-party” voters in Iowa than Democrats or Republicans, but that changed in June.
In May, according to a report by the Secretary of State, there were 703,931 “non-party” voters in Iowa, a greater number than the number of parties. However, the June report showed that the number of “non-party” voters declined by 64,098, and both Democrats and Republicans saw an increase that threw “non-party” voters back into third place.
“They are the ones who will go one way in one election and the other way in another. They will also share their electoral list,” Tim Hagle, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, told Washington Newsday about the “impartial” voters. “Since the election commissions, when the Dems had a big rush of people switching to the Dem to participate, Republicans have regained ground.
At the time, the Democrats outnumbered the Republicans by about 10,000 registered voters, but when the October numbers came out, the Republicans had about 20,000 more voters.
Given that Trump in Iowa won about 100,000 more votes than Biden, the Republicans’ push to increase the number of registered voters for the party seems to have paid off in the form of six votes on the electoral college.