Template:Iagovbackground2014

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Incumbent standing before re-election

Before Branstad formally launched his campaign, polls showed him in excellent standing for re-election, with an average lead of 20 percentage points in hypothetical general election match-ups.[1] Branstad had looked considerably less secure around the time ex-Democratic challenger Tyler Olson entered the race in July 2013, with only 43 percent of polled voters saying they believed the governor deserved to be re-elected and 54 percent answering that he held office long enough, even though 51 percent approved of his performance. A December 2013 poll by Quinnipiac University gave him a boost of 8 percent in both approval and "deserves to be re-elected" categories.[2][3] By mid-March 2014, polls continued to show Branstad sitting comfortably at 63 percent job approval and Hatch trailing behind by 15 points.[4]

Candidate withdrawals

Democratic State Rep. Tyler Olson declared his candidacy for governor in July 2013 and was considered a strong contender for the party's nomination before withdrawing from the race in December 2013.[5] He decided to drop out following the announcement of his separation from wife Sarah Olson, who had been an instrumental part of his family-oriented campaign.[6][7] Olson's withdrawal was followed soon thereafter by former state Sen. Bob Krause's announcement he was shutting down his campaign. Their absences cleared the path for remaining Democratic hopeful Jack Hatch to face Branstad in the general election. Krause immediately gave Hatch his support, while Olson declined to endorse Hatch upon dropping out of the race.[5][8]