Former Senator Tom Harkin predicts Iowa win for Clinton, despite drop in polls

November 7, 2016

WATERLOO — Former Sen. Tom Harkin predicted Democrat Hillary Clinton will prevail in Iowa during Tuesday’s presidential election despite dropping further behind in the latest poll.

Harkin, who retired from the U.S. Senate in 2014, stopped at Clinton’s Waterloo campaign office Sunday as more than 30 people prepared to canvass neighborhoods as part of a get out the vote effort.

He noted Republican Donald Trump is ahead of Clinton by 7 percentage points in the Des Moines Register’s latest Iowa Poll, conducted Nov. 1-4. Forty-six percent of the likely Iowa voters said they would vote for Trump “if the election were held today” versus 39 percent for Clinton. But Harkin questioned those results.

“For some reason, the Iowa Poll has a problem with Trump,” he said, pointing to its final poll before the caucuses in late January. That had Trump winning by 5 percent. Instead, he came in second to Ted Cruz.

Across the state, said Harkin, “over 100,000 doors were knocked on yesterday.” He added that Democrats are doing “great” with early ballots this year.

“Our ground game is better than anything I’ve ever seen,” Harkin contended. “I have no doubt when the polls close that we’ll come out ahead.”

Alex Navissi, a Waterloo-based field organizer for the Iowa Democratic Party, said volunteers have been working hard to reach people before the election.

“So far this weekend, we’ve knocked on 15,000 doors and we’ve made 5,000 phone calls — and there’s still two days to go,” he said, suggesting that’s how to make sure people go to the polls. “We will win, we’re looking good.”

Harkin also pointed to breaking news Sunday afternoon of FBI Director James Comey’s announcement that Clinton should not face criminal charges related to newly discovered emails from her tenure at the State Department. When Comey publicized a review of the emails late last month, “momentum for Hillary Clinton just stopped,” said Harkin.

“Again, I think this will recharge a lot of independents,” he suggested. “They now know there’s nothing out there. There never was anything.”

Harkin pointed to Clinton’s advocacy for creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program while her husband was president in the 1990s. Later when Clinton was a senator from New York, she served on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee with Harkin and was involved in legislation amending the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I got to see her up close and personal,” he said, noting Clinton needed to work with Republicans “to get the job done. She knows how to work with people.”

Harkin added that the volunteers’ work is important to the election of other Democrats on the ballot so “our local candidates get into the Iowa Legislature and put a check on (Gov.) Branstad.”