Interested Parties Paul Harstad and Mike Kulisheck October 18, 2012 New Poll Shows McCaskill with Double-Digit Lead Over Akin in Missouri

A new survey completed October 17th shows Democrat Claire McCaskill with a double-digit lead over Republican Todd Akin in Missouri’s pivotal U.S. Senate campaign. This is a race that speaks volumes about the Republicans’ misfortunes and unfavorable tide trending against their hopes for pickups in the 2012 U.S. Senate races. In a 3-way race also including Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine, McCaskill holds a 12-point lead and gets more vote than the two men combined: 47% for McCaskill, 35% for Akin, and 8% for Dine, with just 8% undecided. In a 2-way race excluding the Libertarian, McCaskill holds a 10-point lead and gets 50% of the vote to Akin’s 40%. In that two-way vote, McCaskill gets virtually all of the Democrats (she’s ahead 95% to 2% – for a margin of 93%) but Akin falls seriously short among Republicans (he is ahead 75% to 14% – for a margin of just 61%, or only two-thirds of McCaskill’s partisan margin). McCaskill also gets a plurality among Independents. The candidates’ standing on separate key leading-indicator questions also confirm Missourians’ alienation from Republican Congressman Akin, who has served 12 years in the House. When voters are asked whether they are more or less likely to vote for Claire McCaskill based on what they have heard in the last few weeks, 38% say more likely versus 37% who say less likely (a net +1%). This is a pretty typical response these days for many competitive candidates at this late stage in a campaign. However, when asked whether they are more or less likely to vote for Todd Akin lately, only 25% say more likely versus a 55% majority who say less likely (a net -30%). This is a remarkably dire score – certainly worse than any we have seen in this election cycle. The fact is that Republicans viewed Claire McCaskill as their leading prospect to defeat an incumbent Democratic senator in 2012. Now, with only 19 days left to the election, it is nearly impossible for Todd Akin to win this seat, given that voters have begun to learn the truth about this Republican congressman.

The Missouri survey was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research among a cross-section of 603 likely voters by telephone from October 15 to 17, 2012. The trial heat results cited above were asked near the start of the survey, after only standard questions such as party preference and candidate popularity. The results are subject to a statistical margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 4.0%. Based in Colorado, Harstad Research is the pollster for five U.S. Senators.

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