PPP's final poll of the Republican Senate primary in Missouri finds a close race with John Brunner leading the pack at 35%, followed by Todd Akin at 30%, and Sarah Steelman at 25%. 10% of voters say that they plan to choose someone else or that they're undecided.
Brunner's leading based on his strength with more middle of the road Republican voters. With those describing themselves as moderates he's up 41-29 on Steelman with Akin at 25%, and among those describing themselves as 'somewhat conservative' he's at 42% to 26% for Akin and 22% for Steelman. The largest group of Republican primary voters describe themselves as 'very conservative,' and Brunner actually trails Akin with them by a 33-30 spread.
Despite Brunner's modest lead there are a couple of reasons to think an upset is possible on Tuesday night. One is that Akin leads Brunner 35-33 among voters who say they're 'very excited' about casting their ballots on Tuesday. Brunner's overall advantage is based on a 37-31 advantage over Akin with 'somewhat excited' voters and a 36-21 lead with those who say they're 'not that excited.' If we count only the 'very' and 'somewhat' excited voters Brunner's lead over Akin shrinks to only two points.
The other reason an upset seems possible is that Akin appears to have the momentum in the closing stretch. It's been more than two months since PPP last polled this race but compared to a Mason Dixon poll a week ago Akin's up 13 points while Brunner's gained only two points and Steelman's actually dropped by a couple. If that trend continues right on through election day Akin might be able to pull out a narrow victory.
A few other notes on the crosstabs:
-Brunner is edging Steelman 35-33 among Tea Party voters with Akin at 28%. There is no real clear Tea Party supported candidate in this race the way there was in Texas last week.
-Akin leads 36-35 among seniors. Brunner is ahead overall because he's up 8 points with younger voters.
-There's a significant gender gap with Brunner ahead by 14 points with men, but Akin up 2 with women. Steelman is actually doing better with male voters (29%) than she is with women (21%).
-Brunner (54/18) and Akin (54/17) have nearly identical favorability numbers, while Steelman (41/35) is not seen as positively.
It doesn't look like there will be too much intrigue in any of the other major statewide primaries: