President Obama often goes to Iowa to tout the state and its roll in his own political rise. But the latest poll from the Des Moines Register suggests that the president may not get a chance to do much politicking there this year.
The Democratic candidates for Senate and governor are losing by such wide margins that most Democrats would probably consider a presidential campaign visit for either one a poor use of resources.
Gubernatorial challenger Terry Brandstad leads Democratic incumbent Gov. Chet Culver 52 percent to 33 percent. Incumbent Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley leads Democratic challenger by 31 points. 61 percent to 30 percent.
It's a good time to remember that after Obama's 10 point victory in Iowa in 2008, it was widely believed that the Hawkeye State going to be blue territory going forward - part of the Obama model for a new electoral map with Midwestern strongholds.
Much has been written and said about the pasting Democrats are taking in the Midwest this cycle, but Iowa is particularly instructive.
Obama will make his fourth trip as president to Iowa on Wednesday. But it will not be a rally. It's another of his invitation-only events in a family's backyard like ones he's held in swing state suburbs in Ohio, Virginia and, tomorrow, New Mexico.
Iowa is very important to what White House folks call "the Obama brand." Remember that Obama went to Iowa for a big rally after the passage of his national health program in March. He spoke a great deal about fulfilling the vision that began in the state's Democratic caucuses.
It's unclear whether Culver or other Democratic office seekers will be with Obama in the backyard huddle on Wednesday. In Neighboring Wisconsin, embattled Sen. Russ Feingold is begging off another appearance with the president when Obama holds a rally designed to enthuse college voters.
The Des Moines Register poll doesn't seem to have tested the president's approval in the state. But it seems unlikely that it is on the good side of 50 percent based on voter attitudes on issues expressed. Obama scored a 48 percent overall approval rating in an early August survey by Rasmussen Reports in Iowa. If the state reflects national trends, that number would be lower now.
In many ways, Iowa is where Americans first met Obama, incarnated as a prairie lawyer who told Democrats to reject Clintonian compromising - that they were the change they had been waiting for.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as digital politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily "Fox News First" political news note and hosts "Power Play," a feature video series, on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on the network, including "The Kelly File," "Special Report with Bret Baier," and "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." He also provides expert political analysis for Fox News coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.