PPP's newest poll of the Missouri Senate race finds little change from three weeks ago. Claire McCaskill leads Todd Akin 46-40. The only shift is Libertarian Jonathan Dine's support dropping from 9% to 6% with those folks moving into the undecided column.
There were a lot of reasons to think this race might shift back toward Todd Akin as the furor over his controversial comments in August died down. But his image has actually just continued to get worse as the election approaches. 31% of voters now say they have a favorable opinion of him to 57% with a negative one. It was a 33/55 spread earlier this month.
McCaskill continues to be unpopular with 44% of voters approving of her to 51% who disapprove. Still that's a significant improvement over the last couple months. In late August we found her at a 40/55 spread so her lead over Akin isn't completely a function of him putting his foot in his mouth- McCaskill's become stronger on her own merits as well.
There are still a few reasons to think this race is not over. By a 48/41 margin Missouri voters would like for Republicans to have control of the US Senate. Those numbers suggest that Akin is about 13 points worse than an average GOP candidate would be. Still they also give Akin and his allies a strong message they could try to hammer home in the final two weeks to win over some of the folks who don't care for him but might not dislike him so much they want to keep Democrats in control of the Senate. Also the undecideds in the Senate race support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama 81-13. Maybe they'll leave the Senate race blank in the end but if they end up grudgingly voting for Akin it would make the race basically tied.
We said all these same things when we released our poll three weeks ago though and there hasn't been any movement towards Akin since then so a shift toward him may or may not ultimately materialize.
The contest for Lieutenant Governor looks like a toss up with Republican incumbent Peter Kinder and Democratic challenger Susan Montee both at 43%. Montee has gained 4 points on Kinder since our last poll. In the race for Attorney General Democratic incumbent Chris Koster leads Republican challenger Ed Martin 48-38. That's closer than 52-34 earlier in the month for the same reason as the Governor's race- GOP voters unifying around their candidate as election day comes near.
Missouri was the closest state in the country in the Presidential race in 2008, but it's not likely to keep that status this year. Mitt Romney leads by 6 points there, 52/46. His favorability is now 52/45, a 4 point net improvement since before the first debate. Obama continues to be quite unpopular there with only 44% of voters approving of him to 54% who disapprove. On the issue of the economy Missourians prefer Romney over Obama 54/43.
Full results here