Presidential Race Ratings Update: Iowa

It’s been a couple weeks, and we’re really getting up against the wire here with less than one week until Election Day. But we have one last (probably) ratings change for our presidential map as we face down the election in November.


Iowa was considered a “Lean Republican” state by many forecasters and pundits back in 2016. This seemed unusual for a state that voted for Barack Obama by over 6% twice, and even supported Al Gore in 2000, but it turned out to be an astute assessment. Donald Trump won Iowa by over 9%, the largest winning margin in a state that had voted for Obama in 2012. Democrats probably should have sensed trouble when Clinton was considered a slight underdog in Iowa and Ohio in 2016. In 2020, it was initially assumed that both Ohio and Iowa’s electorates were representative of the blue collar, rural, “middle America” coalition that Trump had assembled four years prior. But as we’ve gotten closer to the election we moved Ohio to “Toss-Up” and, following a spate of strong polls for Biden in Iowa, it seems fitting to throw Iowa in that same category. We join most other forecasters in making this adjustment, who also initially had it pegged as leaning towards Trump, but it’s hard to argue with Biden’s improving numbers, not to mention a Senate race that has become more competitive than anyone expected (and is now considered to lean Democrat by some pundits) and Iowa’s high level of elasticity. Iowa is a Toss-Up state if there ever was one.