Incumbent Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D) probably did catch a serious break when Rep. Todd Akin, the weakest of the Republican candidates, managed to narrowly win the primary last week. Polling before the primary showed him doing worse than the other top candidates. Yet even against a flawed challenger McCaskill is in serious trouble. The first public polling since Akin won the Republican nomination finds him with an 11 point lead McCaskill. From a SurveyUSA poll of likely voters taken 8/9-12:
Missouri will also elect a United States Senator. If the election for US Senate were today, would you vote for … (choices rotated) Republican Todd Akin? Democrat Claire McCaskill? Or Libertarian Jonathan Dine?
51%….. Todd Akin (R)
40%….. Claire McCaskill (D)
4%…… Jonathan Dine (L)
The poll’s internals show Akin leading among all age groups over 35 years of age. Akin also has a huge 49 percent to 33 percent lead among independents.
It is possible that some of Akin’s lead is a post primary victory bump that will fade away soon, but there is no way a bump accounts for his entire 11 point lead. Even before the primary the public polling showed Akin had a modest lead over McCaskill, and it appears to have improved now that the GOP has a single candidate to rally around. At this moment Akin is a real favorite to unseat McCaskill.
Akin’s voting record is a target rich environment that gives McCaskill many potential issues to use to try to tear him down. But it is going to be a real uphill battle for her to keep her seat.