The Emerson College Polling Institute and Monmouth University just released two presidential polls, the former of Iowa voters, the latter, a national study.

The Emerson poll (1/30-2/2; 831 IA registered voters; 260 IA likely Democratic caucus attenders) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-D/VT), 29-18-15 percent, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posts 11 percent support.

The other candidates land in single digits: ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) at 6 percent; Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) both with 4 percent; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has 3 percent; while former HUD Secretary Julian Castro posts 2 percent, and ex-Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) each register 1 percent support.

The results are consistent with previous polls conducted of the Iowa Caucus sampling universe even though the Democratic sample in this survey is very low.

During the period of January 25-27, Monmouth University tested a national sample of 735 registered US voters from a pool of 805 adults to determine perceptions mostly of the Democratic candidates, but also queried the aggregate respondent universe about President Trump.

Interestingly, the Monmouth ballot test segmented very closely to what Emerson produced in Iowa. Nationally, Mr. Biden posts 29 percent support, the same preference number that Emerson found in Iowa. The national poll, however, reverses second and third positions from the Hawkeye State listing. Here, Monmouth finds Sen. Sanders in second place with 16 percent, followed by Ms. Harris’ 11 percent. Sen. Warren drops to 8 percent on the national scale, and ex-Rep. O’Rourke records 7 percent support.

Yet, from the Monmouth poll, in another similarity to the Iowa Emerson findings, the Democratic cell segment is simply too small – 313 from the Monmouth sample – to accurately depict how the Democratic candidates stand from a national perspective. Even so, the fact that the candidate standing and polling divide was numerically very similar in the two polls, one of the country as a whole and the other for the first key voting state, is of some significance.

Although neither Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) nor ex-Ohio Gov. John Kasich is giving any indication that he would challenge President Trump for the Republican nomination, Monmouth tested such potential pairings. Overall, among the tested Republicans, 49 percent say they want to see Mr. Trump run unopposed for re-nomination, but 43 percent would prefer him to face primary opposition.

If Sen. Cruz were to challenge the President, Mr. Trump would lead the battle for the GOP nomination by a 66-21 percent count. If Mr. Kasich were the candidate, the split favors the President by an even greater 72-14 percent. Like in their Democratic segmentation, the Monmouth Republican voter split is woefully low for a national survey, 335 respondents, so the error factor for these Democratic and Republican sample cell responses is very high.

Emerson looked at Iowa pairings for President Trump against the Democrats in hypothetical general election duels. The Hawkeye State, with its six electoral votes, is a critical national swing state. Individually against the tested seven Democratic candidates, President Trump fares well before the entire 831-person Iowa respondent sample.

In fact, Mr. Trump would only trail ex-VP Biden, if the election were during the sampling period, by a small 51-49 percent margin.

Against the others, the President would carry Iowa: 51-49 percent over Sen. Sanders, 52-48 percent opposite Sen. Warren, and 53-47 percent versus Sen. Harris. He would defeat Mr. O’Rourke, 53-47 percent, top Sen. Gillibrand 54-46 percent, and Ohio Sen. Brown, 55-45 percent.

Though such early polling is virtually meaningless for an Iowa Caucus now just a year away and a general vote all the way to November 2020, the polls do give us an indication of where the President stands before the tested samples at the end of January. As other polls also show, this is a particularly negative period for Mr. Trump in terms of public perception.

This is a commentary submitted and published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to

Jim Ellis

Jim Ellis was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He earned a B. A. in Political Science from the University of California at Davis in 1979. Jim raised his daughter, Jacqueline, alone after his wife died following a tragic car accident. He helped establish the Joan Ellis Victims Assistance Network in Rochester, NH. Jim also is a member of the Northern Virginia Football Officials Association, which officiates high school games throughout the region.