Trump leads Republicans in MO; GOP field leads Clinton

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Missouri poll provides more evidence that Donald Trump emerged from the first debate at least momentarily unscathed. He leads the Republican field in the state with 23% to 11% each for Jeb Bush and Ben Carson, 10% for Mike Huckabee, 9% for Ted Cruz, 8% for Scott Walker, 7% for Carly Fiorina, 6% for Marco Rubio, and 4% each for John Kasich and Rand Paul. That makes for a very clean top ten in Missouri because everyone else is at 1% or less- Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, and Rick Santorum all get 1%, George Pataki is at less than 1%, and Jim Gilmore and Lindsey Graham have literally no supporters.

What really stands out in the numbers is how broad Trump’s support is- he leads with moderates (25%), ‘somewhat conservative’ voters (23%), and ‘very conservative’ voters (20%) alike. He is a lot stronger with men (30%) but he leads with women too at 16%. He’s particularly strong with young voters (32%) but also leads with middle aged voters (21%) and seniors (17%). Every group we track he has the lead with on this poll.

Our findings in Missouri also reinforce some of what we found in Iowa over the weekend:

-Carly Fiorina is on the rise. Her 7% showing moves her up to 7th place in the GOP standings, and she has a solid 50/18 favorability rating.

-Rand Paul is really falling apart. His favorability is under water with Missouri Republicans at 36/44, and only 4% support him for the nomination. It used to be that Chris Christie was the only major candidate we found with negative favorability numbers within the primary electorate, but Paul’s joined him on that list.

-There might not be anyone worse off than Christie though. He has a 28/51 favorability rating and now polls at just 1% for the nomination, the same thing we found for him in Iowa.

-With a 71/20 favorability rating Mike Huckabee is by far the most broadly liked of the Republican candidates in Missouri. But it still doesn’t translate to much support for the nomination. His opportunity may have passed in 2012. Also near the top of the favorability heap are Marco Rubio (60/18), Ben Carson (57/14), and Ted Cruz (57/19).

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton leads with 53% to 25% for Bernie Sanders, 5% each for Martin O’Malley and Jim Webb, and 1% for Lincoln Chafee.

Clinton has dominant leads in the state with ‘very liberal’ voters (72/21), ‘somewhat liberal’ ones (57/31), women (57/19), African Americans (64/11), white voters (52/28), and seniors (63/12). Sanders also trails but at least keeps Clinton under 50% with moderates (45/22), men (48/32), and younger voters (47/28). Clinton doing better with ‘very liberal’ voters than moderates is a departure from most states but is likely a function of non-Democratic voters being able to vote in the Democratic primary in Missouri since it’s an open primary state and not being favorable toward her.

In 2008 the Presidential race was basically a tie in Missouri but Mitt Romney won the state easily in 2012 and it doesn’t look like there’s a ton of hope for a Democratic victory there next year either. Clinton trails all of the Republicans in the state by margins ranging from 7 to 15 points. Marco Rubio fares the best, leading her by 15 points at 51/36. Ben Carson leads her by 14 at 52/38, and John Kasich (49/36), Scott Walker (50/37) and Mike Huckabee (51/38) each lead her by 13 points.

The GOP hopefuls Clinton comes closest to are Jeb Bush who she trails by 7 at 47/40, and Donald Trump and Chris Christie who she has 9 point deficits against at 48/39 and 46/37 respectively. In between are Carly Fiorina who leads Clinton by 10 at 47/37, and Rand Paul (49/37) and Ted Cruz (50/38) who each lead Clinton by 12 points.

We found on our Iowa poll that Clinton and Bernie Sanders weren’t faring that different from each other in general election match ups against the Republicans and that trend presents itself in Missouri as well. Sanders does worse than Clinton against Bush, trailing 47/34. But his 15 point deficit against Rubio (48/33) is the same as Clinton’s, his 9 point deficit against Trump (48/39) is the same as Clinton’s, and he actually does a tick better than Clinton against Walker trailing by 12 points compared to her 13 at 46/34. On average Sanders only does a point worse than Clinton in the comparable match ups.

Missouri does present more evidence of the threat a Donald Trump independent bid could pose to the Republican Party though. He actually beats out Jeb Bush as a third party candidate, getting 30% to 29% for Bush with Clinton leading the way at 34%. Trump leads with independents at 37%, and gets 39% of Republicans and 15% of Democrats as well.

Other notes from Missouri:

-80% of voters in the state support background checks on all gun purchases, compared to only 12% who oppose them. Background checks meet with support from 85% of Democrats, 82% of independents, and 73% of Republicans.

-67% of voters in the state support increasing the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour, compared to just 28% who want to keep it where it is or get rid of the federal minimum wage all together. 52% of Republicans favor increasing it to at least $10. 

-Todd Akin continues to be an extremely unpopular figure among voters familiar with him, with only 14% rating him favorably to 34% who have an unfavorable opinion. But in a finding that might be good news both for Akin and for Missouri Republicans, most voters have forgotten about him- 52% say they don’t have an opinion one way or another.

-The Cardinals are still Missouri’s favorite baseball team, but the Royals are closing the gap. 48% of voters in the state say they’re Cardinals fans to 35% for the Royals with the Cubs at 3% and no one else polling over 2%. When we asked in 2012 whether people were more Cardinals or Royals fans, the Cardinals won out by a much wider 60/28 spread. Mike Matheny (70/3 approval with Cardinals fans) and Ned Yost (61/8 approval with Royals fans) are both broadly popular within their fan bases.

-St. Louis may have the state’s more popular baseball team but Kansas City wins out on the football front. 39% of voters in the state are Chiefs fans to 17% for the Rams with the Broncos and Packers at 5%, Cowboys and Vikings at 4%, and Cardinals and Bears at 3% also registering. Chiefs fans are very happy with Andy Reid (70/5 approval) while Rams fans are a little more skeptical of Jeff Fisher (57/12 approval).

-On the college sports front 47% of voters in the state say they’re Missouri fans to 12% for Missouri State, and 4% each for St. Louis, Southeast Missouri, and Missouri-Kansas City. Tigers fans give Gary Pinkel a 70/8 approval for his job as football coach, while the jury’s out on Kim Anderson as basketball coach- 33% approve and 18% disapprove of him.

-Finally we sometimes are a little partial to the Tar Heels here at PPP so we asked Missourians whether they thought former UNC star and Poplar Bluff native Tyler Hansbrough was the best athlete in the history of the state of Missouri, or the greatest athlete in the history of the state of Missouri. 69% say Psycho T is the best athlete in the history of Missouri to 31% who say he’s the greatest. As far as we’re concerned they’re both right.

Full results here

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