The Iowa Bar Association does a survey each year that judicial retention elections are held.
Only attorneys who have appeared before a judge often enough that the judge could evaluate their performance as attorneys are eligible to complete the survey. Attorneys rate the judges on 12 questions (10 for Court of Appeals judges and Supreme Court justices), and answer “yes” or “no” on the final question of whether a judge should be retained in office. The rating system uses a five for “excellent” and a one for “very poor” when evaluating a judge’s performance in the courtroom, and a five for “strongly agree” and a one for “strongly disagree” when evaluating his or her demeanor towards others.I know sometimes it seems a bit mad to have the average person voting on whether a judge they've never even heard of should keep his or her position in the courts. I think I'll defer to the opinions on this survey, and thought it might be of interest to others voting in the upcoming general election.
(If the link above doesn't work, there's a link to the "2008 Judicial Plebiscite" right on the ISBA's home page.)