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Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is beating Democratic challenger Mike Franken by 8 points among likely Iowa voters, new polling shows, in what could be his closest race since first winning his Senate seat more than 40 years ago.
The seven-term senator leads with 47 percent over Franken’s 39 percent, according to a Des Moines Register-Mediacom Iowa poll.
The poll marks the first time Grassley has polled below 50 percent against his challenger since he was elected to the Senate in 1980, the Des Moines Register reported.
Grassley, the oldest Republican senator at 88, quelled speculation about his potential retirement when he announced his run for an eighth term in September.
Grassley won Iowa’s GOP primary in June with 73.4 percent of the vote, beating out his Republican challenger, state Sen. Jim Carlin.
Franken, a former U.S. Navy admiral, snagged 55.1 percent of the vote in the state’s Democratic primary, beating out former Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa), who took 40 percent of the vote.
The Des Moines Register-Mediacom Iowa poll shows that Iowa Democrats and Republicans are likely to back their party’s candidate and unlikely to switch sides: 6 percent of Democrats and 4 percent of Republicans said they’d vote for the candidate across the aisle in the general election.
Conducted from July 10 to 13, the poll surveyed 597 likely Iowa voters, with a 4 percent margin of error.