The New York Times / Siena College Battleground Poll: Iowa

iowa oct
  • Biden 46% – Trump 43% Ernst 45% – Greenfield 44%
  • 9/24: Biden 45% – Trump 42% Greenfield 42% – Ernst 40%
  • Four in Ten Iowans Have Already Voted, Including Two-Thirds of Dems

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY. Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to hold a narrow 46-43 percent lead over President Donald Trump, little moved from 45-42 percent last month. In the race for the U.S. Senate, Republican incumbent Joni Ernst and Democrat Theresa Greenfield are virtually even. Ernst has the support of 45 percent and Greenfield 44 percent of voters, compared to Greenfield 42 percent and Ernst 40 percent in September, according to today’s New York Times/Siena College polls of likely Iowa voters.

“Similar to what we’ve seen in other states in recent New York Times/Siena College polls, the political landscape has not changed dramatically in the last month, despite all the dramatic events and moments of the last month. Biden led by a narrow three-point margin in late September and he leads by a narrow three-point margin nearing late October,” said Don Levy, Director of the Siena College Research Institute.

“The gender gap has widened, as Trump leads with men by 14 points, up from eight points last month, and Biden has a 19-point lead with women, up from 14 points,” Levy said.

While Trump increased his lead with white voters without a college degree to seven points, Biden’s lead with whites with a degree increased to 19 points,” Levy said. “Biden leads with both white men and women with a degree and he leads with white women without a degree. Trump, however, has a two-to-one, 57-29 percent, lead with white men without a degree.

“Thirty-nine percent of likely Iowa voters have already cast their ballots, with Democrats far outnumbering Republicans. Biden holds a whopping 40-point, 66-26 percent, lead with those voters. But among the voters who still plan on voting – early or on election day – Trump has a commanding 54-34 percent lead,” Levy said. “Trump won here by nine points four years ago. It appears 2020 will be a much closer race.”

“While the U.S. Senate race remains well within the margin of error, Ernst has picked up some ground, particularly bringing Republicans back in the fold. She stretched her 69-point lead with Republicans in September to a now 86-point lead,” Levy said. “At the same time, Greenfield was able to open up a seven-point lead with independents, after the two were tied last month.

“While Ernst has gained a little in the last month, it’s a far cry from the eight-point victory she had in 2014,” Levy said. “This looks like it might very well come down to which side does better getting its voters to the polls. Given who has voted already, that puts some added pressure on the Ernst camp.”

This New York Times/Siena College survey of Iowa was conducted October 18-20, 2020 by telephone calls in English to 753 likely voters, with a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percentage points. Calls were made to a stratified weighted sample of voters from the L-2 Voter list via both land and cell phones. The data was weighted by party, age, race/ethnicity, education, region, gender and voter likelihood, a computed score that combines voter history, stated voter likelihood and modeled turnout by respondent. Polling support for this project provided by Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College, M. Davis and Co., Reconnaissance Market Research, and The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social, and cultural research. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information, please call Don Levy at 518-944-0482. Survey cross-tabulations and frequencies can be found at: For additional methodological information, click here.