Missouri Senate, Governor’s Races Competitive

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new poll for the Senate and Governor in Missouri finds pretty close races for both offices, defined by a mix of candidates who are either unknown or unpopular.

Roy Blunt is one of the least popular Senators in the country, with only 30% of voters approving of the job he’s doing to 47% who disapprove. Blunt has become increasingly unpopular over the course of his first term in the Senate. When PPP last polled the state right before the 2012 election voters were closely divided in their feelings about him with 35% approving and 34% disapproving. Blunt is quite unpopular with independents (24/52) and Democrats (17/62) but what really makes his numbers soft is that he’s only at 46/28 approval even with Republican voters. Those are the kinds of numbers that usually make you susceptible to a primary challenge.

Blunt leads Democratic challenger Jason Kander 40/35 for reelection with 25% of voters undecided. That high level of indecision may have a lot to do with voters just not being that familiar with Kander at this point- only 35% know enough about him to have formed an opinion either way.

The Governor’s race looks like a sheer toss up at this point. Republican hopeful Peter Kinder leads Democratic candidate Chris Koster 40-37. But Koster has leads of 4-8 points over the rest of GOP field- it’s 39/35 over Bob Dixon, 40/36 over Catherine Hanaway, 40/35 over Randy Asbury, 41/36 over John Brunner, 40/34 over Eric Greitens, and 39/31 over Bart Korman.

The high level of undecideds in all of those match ups reflects how little known the candidates are at this point. Kinder is the only candidate with greater than 50% name recognition, at 54%. The only other candidates over 40% name recognition are Koster at 47% and Hanaway at 42%. 

That name recognition advantage also vaults Kinder to an early lead in the Republican primary for Governor. He gets 27% to 11% for Hanaway, 9% for Brunner, 7% for Dixon, 5% for Asbury, 4% for Greitens, and less than 1% for Korman. A plurality of voters at 37% remain undecided.

One final note from Missouri- Jay Nixon is now a pretty unpopular Governor with only 36% of voters approving of the job he’s doing to 48% who disapprove. He was at 51/31 right on the eve of his reelection in 2012. Nixon’s approval with African Americans is only 49/37, compared to 84/4 for President Obama in the state.

Full results here

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