PPP's newest poll of the Missouri Senate race finds that Todd Akin is weathering the storm and the contest remains a toss up. Claire McCaskill leads 45-44, just a small change from our poll last week which found Akin ahead by a 44-43 margin.
A few key findings related to Akin's candidacy:
-53% of voters say that they accept Akin's apology for his comments last week to 40% who do not. For most Missourians Akin's words weren't a permanent deal breaker. Although Democrats are not ready to forgive him, 77% of Republicans say they accept his apology to only 18% who do not.
-Only 37% of voters now say they think Akin should withdraw from the race to 54% who believe he should not. There's a bipartisan consensus that he should stay in- 57% of independents, 53% of Democrats, and 52% of Republicans think he should continue running. There's clearly a disconnect on Akin's candidacy between GOP leaders in Washington DC and actual GOP voters back in Missouri.
-Akin's favorability numbers are still poor with 33% of voters rating him favorably to 56% with a negative opinion. But that's up a net 11 points from our survey last Monday when it came down at 24/58. A lot of voters have already moved on from being disgusted with him over his comments.
When you dig in on the undecideds in this race 61% are voting for Mitt Romney to 25% who support Barack Obama. It's Republicans and GOP leaning independents who don't like Akin. Ultimately this race will be decided by conservative voters who have to decide if they're so unhappy with Akin that they want to let Democrats keep control of the Senate. My guess is those folks will ultimately hold their noses and support their party's candidate.
Missouri continues to look like a tough sell for Barack Obama. We find him trailing Romney 53-41, little change from the 52-42 we found on our poll there this week.
Full results here