Despite Controversy, Akin Still Holds Slim Lead In Senate Race
I’m a little suspicious of polling done this quickly after a scandal breaks. The scandal may be well-known in the world of political junkies, but it takes a while for this stuff to get traction with the public at large.
That being said, Claire McCaskill has to be a pretty unpopular to still be losing to Todd Akin at this point:
Missouri voters strongly disagree with the comments Todd Akin made about abortion over the weekend, but it hasn’t moved the numbers a whole lot in the Senate race. Akin leads Claire McCaskill by a single point, 44-43. That’s basically identical to our last poll of the contest in late May, which found Akin ahead by a 45-44 spread.
It’s not that Missouri voters are ok with or supportive of Akin’s comments. 75% of voters, including even 64% of Republicans, say they were inappropriate to only 9% who consider them to have been appropriate. 79% of voters say they disagree with what Akin said, including 65% who express ‘strong’ disagreement with him. 51% of GOP voters say they strongly disagree with him.
All of that is taking a toll on Akin’s image. Only 24% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 58% with a negative one. He’s pretty universally disliked by Democrats (3/85) and independents (21/61) and even with Republicans (43/34) he’s on only narrowly positive ground.
But for all of that the overall numbers in the race have moved very little. When we polled in May McCaskill was getting only 8% of the Republican vote, and even with the controversy around Akin she’s only pushed up to 10% of it. GOP voters dislike McCaskill so much they’re not going to vote for her no matter what their nominee does. Independent voters haven’t moved at all either. In May they supported Akin 45-41, and even though they don’t like him on tonight’s poll we still found him leading 45-41 with them.
Meanwhile, Akin has launched an “I’m not quitting” marketing/fundraising blitz.
If he does stay in the race, and it appears he will, I’d expect him to slowly lose ground to McCaskill given the unrelenting firestorm his comments have set off. But what this polling does show is that if Akin pulls out and is replaced on the ballot by another Republican, he or she stands a pretty good chance against a very unpopular McCaskill.Tags: claire mccaskill, election 2012, missouri senate, todd akin