Earlier this week, Public Policy Polling gave Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican nominee for United States Senate, some ammunition to show that he was still in the race against Sen. Claire McCaskill. But, as Jim Geraghty pointed out at the National Review, the poll significantly oversampled Republicans, barely giving Akin an edge.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the Show Me State finds McCaskill earning 48% support to Akin’s 38%. Nine percent (9%) like some other candidate in the race, and five percent (5%) are undecided.
Akin led McCaskill by three before winning the Republican Primary. Normally, a candidate would increase their lead after winning a competitive primary. However, the latest results move a seat that had once been leaning in the Republican direction to Safe Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings.
Notably, 13% of Republicans now prefer a third party candidate as do 14% of unaffiliated voters. Among Democrats, none now favor a third party option and Democratic support for McCaskill has solidified. She now earns 96% of the vote from her party. Only 70% of Republicans would vote for the current nominee of their party. That’s down from 86% earlier.
Forty-seven percent (47%) of the state’s voters have a Very Unfavorable opinion of Akin today. That’s up from 22% before the primary.
Ninety-three percent (93%) of all Missouri voters are following news stories about Akin’s rape comment at least somewhat closely, including 64% who are following Very Closely.
Forty-one percent (41%) say Akin should withdraw from the campaign and have Republicans select another candidate to run against McCaskill. But just as many (42%) disagree and say Akin should not quit the race. The partisan divide reveals voter understanding of the underlying dynamics. Most Republicans (53%) think he should quit; most Democrats (56%) do not, and unaffiliated voters are evenly divided.
Akin led McCaskill by a 47/44 spread last month when Rasmussen polled the race. That’s a 9-point drop. Rasmussen also notes the “Very Unfavorable” opinion of Akin. It’s actually worse when you add in the “Somewhat Unfavorable” numbers, driving the negavite impression of him to 63%.
Many observers, including the Cook Political Report, have already changed their outlook on the race to give McCaskill the advantage. No only is it more difficult it is for Republicans to take this seat the longer Akin stays in the race, but it makes their chances of taking the Senate very unlikely. Akin has until September 25th to drop out without appearing on the ballot in Missouri.