Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Polls: Republicans narrowly ahead in Iowa and Louisiana Senate races

Republicans are narrowly ahead for two important Democratic-held Senate seats, according to a new set of polls from Democratic-aligned firm Public Policy Polling.

In Iowa, where Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring, Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst has 44 percent, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley has 42 percent, plus another 4 percent scattered across independent and minor-party candidates — leaving 10 percent of voters still undecided. The survey of likely voters was conducted from Sept. 25 to 28, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

In Louisiana, the picture gets a bit more complicated, because of their unique electoral system: The election this November 4 is actually their primary, with all candidates listed on the same ballot together regardless of party. In races where no candidate gets over 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates will proceed to a runoff election on December 6.

For the November primary, Sen. Mary Landrieu is in first place with 42 percent, followed by Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy with 34 percent, plus fellow Republican Rob Maness with 12 percent. In a two-way race, Cassidy edges out Landrieu, 48 percent to 45 percent — which grows a bit more, at 50 percent to 45 percent, among respondents who say they are likely to vote in a December runoff. The survey of likely voters was also conducted from Sept. 25 to 28, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent.