Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad must have a bright outlook as the Christmas season heats up. A recent poll found 58 percent of the respondents hold a “very” or “mostly” favorable opinion about him.
Branstad, a Republican, took office in January, 2011. He had served as governor before, from 1983-1999. In between, Iowans elected a Democrat to the office in 1999 until Branstad won it back in 2011.
The Des Moines Register conducted the poll, a tradition dating to 1943.
One economist said the poll results didn’t surprise him because of Iowa’s “healthy job growth, strong agricultural income and stable housing market.”
Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds recently launched a new initiative aimed at helping military veterans. A state press release described Home Base Iowa as “a new non-profit, private-public partnership that will recruit veterans and active duty service members for private-sector job opportunities in Iowa.”
Branstad has stressed accountability with taxpayer dollars and government efficiency as important issues, and he worked successfully with the state legislature to eradicate a $900 million spending deficit he inherited from the previous governor, Chet Culver, a Democrat.
The Register suggested Democrats don’t have a strong candidate to oppose Branstad in the next election, and The Cook Political Report has already designated the 2014 race as “likely Republican.”
Asked whether the state was headed in the right direction, 55 percent of poll respondents said it was. The paper said that was a 3 percent improvement over September.
As the Christmas season goes into full swing, Branstad has much to cheer, and considering Iowa’s economy, so do the Hawkeye state’s voters. Iowa unemployment is at 4.6 percent, far below the national average. Branstad made jobs a central plank in his policy and thus far, he has kept his word.
(Filed by Kay B. Day/Dec. 17, 2013)