An Akin comeback?

posted at 11:21 am on October 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Nearly two months ago, Todd Akin bought time on Missouri television to ask forgiveness from voters over regrettable remarks he made about rape.  Most scoffed that electoral forgiveness would be forthcoming, and predicted doom and defeat for Republicans in a Senate race most had assumed they would win against unpopular incumbent Claire McCaskill.  As soon as it became impossible for Akin to withdraw, McCaskill began bombarding Akin with ads over his statement, and few gave Akin any hope for a comeback.

A new poll from Wenzel Strategies (via James Hohmann at Politico’s Morning Score) might show a glimmer of that hope, however.  The likely-voter survey puts Akin up four points over McCaskill, 48.9/44.7, with 87% of the vote firm.  The sample on this poll has a D/R/I of 38/37/25, more Democratic than the 2010 midterm turnout in Missouri of 34/37/28, although not as Democratic as the 2008 turnout model of 40/34/26 that nonetheless gave John McCain a narrow win in the state.

However, a couple of points should be kept in mind.  First, this is a poll conducted on behalf of a partisan client, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, and Wenzel does a lot of work for Republicans.  We’d be suspicious of PPP polls, so it’s fair to note this.  Second, the poll also shows Mitt Romney ahead of Barack Obama by almost 14 points, 54.9/41.1, while the RCP average for MO is Romney +5.2%.  The last poll in that series, though, was conducted before the first debate, and it’s entirely possible that the race in Missouri has shifted significantly since.  It’s worth noting that Obama’s favorability in the poll is 49.5/49.1, so it’s not as though this has an overwhelming tilt.

Peter Boyer at The Daily Beast says that counting out Akin at this point would be a mistake. So, too, would be counting out some high-profile Republican help for Akin in the final couple of weeks, for pragmatic purposes:

Yet less than a month before Election Day, Akin not only remains the Republican candidate to unseat Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, but is actually within striking distance of what could be the election season’s most stunning victory. Though badly outspent by McCaskill, Akin is close enough in the polls that Real Clear Politics counts the race a tossup. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)—who’d been among those urging Akin to quit—now judges that “he very well may win.”

Once the late-September deadline for replacing Akin on the ballot passed, the Republican establishment seemed to realize that, like it or not (and mostly, it did not), Akin suddenly represented the party’s best chance for winning the Senate. There have been hints that big money may start flowing from the national party to Missouri—though Akin is not counting on it (“My guess is, some will, and some won’t”).

But even if Akin does ultimately get last-minute assistance from the national GOP, he will still, should he win, owe very little to his party’s establishment. That would be a rather unusual situation for a freshman senator. And it could allow him to become a uniquely powerful proponent for the Tea Party’s agenda on Capitol Hill—not to mention a serious headache for the Senate’s GOP leadership. “What I’ve found in politics is a simple thing: pretty soon there’s gonna be a bill, and they’re gonna want someone to vote for their bill, or against some other bill,” says Akin. “And they’ll be thinking, ‘Man, we’re a vote short, what are we gonna do? You mean we’re gonna have to go talk to him?’ Well, it depends on whether or not they want to win.”

At this point, why not pitch in?  Akin’s the Republican candidate, and the race is definitely not lost.  Romney doesn’t need the help in Missouri, but defeating McCaskill would be a huge boost to Republican hopes of controlling the Senate.  Furthermore, the continued competitiveness of this race shows that the damage from the gaffe has receded.  Thanks to McCaskill’s blanketing of the state on the gaffe, it’s done all the damage it could possibly do now.  Those voters who might still change their minds won’t be changing horses based on that now.


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It is truly insane to think any politician would be held accountable.

Impeachment. Banned from use by Establishment Republicans who are far more interested in protecting Democrats than holding them accountable.

Steveangell on October 15, 2012 at 2:42 PM

As I said, there are not nor will there be 67 votes in the Senate to convict and remove the “first black President.”

You really think Democrats are going to cut their own throats with African-Americans?

HAHAHAHA!

Resist We Much on October 15, 2012 at 4:17 PM

To those still seriously hatin’ on Akin (from our side), what is the downside of picking up another Republican Senate seat?

Fallon on October 15, 2012 at 4:16 PM

That question presupposes there is a chance of victory.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:18 PM

They are just cheap liberals. Nothing particularly special about them over all. They are just liberals who do not want to pay for their extravagance.

astonerii on October 15, 2012 at 4:14 PM

They hijacked Republican primaries here, big time, main reason NV is in play for Hussein. Unfortunately. Any time I hear “libertarian”, “Ron Paul” or such, I know I am looking at a demented, lying, cheating, racist anti-semite. No other way to look at their cult leader Herr Doktor.

We somehow allowed these idiots to invade REPUBLICAN primaries, time and again. And we’re arguing about Akin electability? Wow…

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 4:20 PM

That question presupposes there is a chance of victory.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:18 PM

And now we know why ObamaPhones were distributed. You get your talking points messages daily or hourly?

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM

We somehow allowed these idiots to invade REPUBLICAN primaries, time and again. And we’re arguing about Akin electability? Wow…

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 4:20 PM

RP has nothing to do with Akin. And just in case you were wondering and didn’t feel like doing the research, I supported Gingrich in the presidential primary. I do not agree with what Gingrich has had to say about our senate race. I would kind of like to ask why he didn’t bother to even create a Missouri team when running for the presidency, but he didn’t, and therefore has absolutely zero insight into how our state politics play out.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM

And now we know why ObamaPhones were distributed. You get your talking points messages daily or hourly?

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM

Better to keep quiet than open your mouth and expose your own ignorance. Truly.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:27 PM

To those still seriously hatin’ on Akin (from our side), what is the downside of picking up another Republican Senate seat?

Fallon on October 15, 2012 at 4:16 PM

That question presupposes there is a chance of victory.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Um… Wasn’t the possibility of “An Akin comeback?” the point of this story?

Fallon on October 15, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Um… Wasn’t the possibility of “An Akin comeback?” the point of this story?

Fallon on October 15, 2012 at 4:27 PM

It’s not a possibility. The whole story is based on a poll that we would be mocking if it came from a Dem-leaning pollster.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:31 PM

And now we know why ObamaPhones were distributed. You get your talking points messages daily or hourly?

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 4:25 PM
Better to keep quiet than open your mouth and expose your own ignorance. Truly.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Will you two stop jawing at each other and insult a prophet or something? You know from the religion that actually kills women, i.e. not the religion Akin is part of.

Nutstuyu on October 15, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Looks to me that Missouri has a decision to make. If he is in fact ahead in the polling, then whats to prevent him from winning in November.

DDay on October 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM

It’s not a possibility. The whole story is based on a poll that we would be mocking if it came from a Dem-leaning pollster.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:31 PM

And liberal spin keeps on going…

Thankfully by same time next month most will be gone from here.

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Um… Wasn’t the possibility of “An Akin comeback?” the point of this story?

Fallon on October 15, 2012 at 4:27 PM

ObamaPhone text message said “No way for Akin win. Argue until you’re blue in the face”.

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 4:50 PM

To those still seriously hatin’ on Akin (from our side), what is the downside of picking up another Republican Senate seat?

Fallon

Akin is anti-amnesty, and anti-illegal immigration. That’s why Rove is so strongly against him. He’d rather have a pro-amnesty McCaskill than an anti-amnesty Akin.

That question presupposes there is a chance of victory.

alwaysfiredup

Probably not much of one at this point. That’s what happens when Republicans with lady parts guilt attack their candidate as much or more than the democrats, and refuse to support that candidate financially. Victory was an option early on, but our side chose surrender and defeat instead.

xblade on October 15, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Probably not much of one at this point. That’s what happens when Republicans with lady parts guilt attack their candidate as much or more than the democrats, and refuse to support that candidate financially. Victory was an option early on, but our side chose surrender and defeat instead.

xblade on October 15, 2012 at 4:52 PM

Agree for the most part. Where we disagree is you calling them “republicans” while I call them “so called republicans, but in reality liberals lite”.

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 5:00 PM

As I said, there are not nor will there be 67 votes in the Senate to convict and remove the “first black President.”

You really think Democrats are going to cut their own throats with African-Americans?

HAHAHAHA!

Resist We Much on October 15, 2012 at 4:17 PM

You are not allowed your own facts.

Impeachment requires a majority in the house. Clinton was Impeached by the House for example.

Conviction takes 67 votes in the Senate.

Impeachment allows a very through investigation. No executive privilege claim is allowed for the most part. The press will not be able to cover up all the wrong doings no matter how they try. If severe enough the Senate either convicts or the people will vote them out.

Steveangell on October 15, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Resist We Much on October 15, 2012 at 4:17 PM

Impeachment is sort of like a trial. The Senate then determines if a penalty will be enforced the conviction.

Steveangell on October 15, 2012 at 5:15 PM

Because if one dime of traceable GOP cash goes to Akin, the ads of Obama and every Dem in every one of the other 49 states will suddenly be 100% “legitimate rape” from now until the election.

Do you believe in bigfoot too? They can do that now, but they aren’t. Wonder why? They don’t need one dime to be spent by the GOP. Tell Rove to give you some new, better talking points.

Super PACs are designed to operate without accountability. Let them drag Akin’s moronic butt across the finish line.

Fabozz

The average voter doesn’t seen any distinction between Super PACS and the party/candidate they support.

xblade on October 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

Akin has been hanging around the margin of error for a while – I assumed, that McCaskill would bombard the state with the rape comment and all would end badly. She dropped the bombs. But I apparently failed to realize an over-riding truth about this race – People in Missouri absolutely despise McCaskill, with venom. And they hate Obama too due to ObamaCare, which they heavily voted against.

I’m not sure I buy this poll showing him up by 4, but the partisan split isn’t off – and I can definitely see Romney up by more than 10. I never saw Missouri in Obama’s column ever.

Zomcon JEM on October 15, 2012 at 5:50 PM

So now obstetrics and gynecology are required areas of study for our senators? Seriously?

I honestly don’t expect any men–other than doctors–to speak knowledgeably about the way the female body works. And when I look at Todd Akin, I see not just a man but a grandfatherly man…so I expect anything he might have to say on any subject related to human anatomy to be awkward and slightly antiquated.

Ideally, Akin would have said his piece about rapists deserving to be punished instead of the unborn children without offering further comment, but it takes only a few seconds–seconds countable on one hand–to speak words that start leading down a dangerous trail. And once those words are out–they’re out. He did the only thing he could have done: apologize. We’re at a point in this election cycle where, out of desperation for a Republican win, I will choose not to dredge up Romney’s gaffes. But they happened. Oh, yes–they happened. No politician is above the all-too-human frailty of letting his words get away from him now and then.

And to those concerned that we will be forever bludgeoned by the reckless words of one Republican from MO–the Dems created an entire “war on women” phenomenon out of Republican opposition to the Dems efforts to force religious organizations to pay for abortion. Yes–while they are gleefully stripping away our First Amendment protections, they are crying–wailing–that we are the ones attacking them. They hate us and everything we stand for, and even if no Republican ever misspeaks again, the media will edit whatever video clips need to be edited to support the Dems’ memes/stories/lies.

And to those who think Akin is selfish for not getting out–withdrawing sounds like a reasonable, respectable course until you start to consider how quickly the Republican “powers that be” started calling for him to get out. Maybe Akin would have made the same decision even if party leaders hadn’t immediately attacked and abandoned him. But once they did, it became a bigger issue than just his pride versus the good of the party. The more I’ve considered this, the more I’ve started to see it as a slippery slope situation. If Priebus et al. had gotten their way, who’s to say they wouldn’t have felt free to play the get-out-now-for-the-good-of-the-party card again at some point? Do we really want the RNC (and other national party committees) to be able to strong-arm duly-nominated “undesirables” into dropping out of races? Candidates for Congress chosen by members of the various states to represent those various states? Really? That’s an awful lot of power for national party leaders to wield–and it’s not really how voting for members of Congress is supposed to work. Had it been Akin’s choice to withdraw, following the legal options to fill his position would have been no big deal. But once coercion by party leaders came into play—and it did pretty much right away—there was no easy course to follow.

But all of these discussions are really taking us farther and farther away from the discussions we should be having: How is Akin on economic issues? How is he on foreign policy? Will he vote solidly with conservatives in the Senate? These are the questions we should be discussing in relation to Todd Akin.

butterflies and puppies on October 15, 2012 at 5:57 PM

First of all, I’m in this for the long haul. If that worthless piece of crap Akin stays in, and wins, then future Republicans who similarly screw up, will be far more likely to stay in.

If Akin loses, and has his political career destroyed because he put his desires over the good of the party, then the next idiot who pulls an Akin will be more likely to do the right thing, and get out while still possible.

Can you nor anyone else here tell me how he would be worse for GOP than, say, Graham?

Don’t have to. I want Graham gone, too, and will support his best opponent in the 2014 primary. For now, the issue is Akin, who as a member of the Akin party is an enemy to every Republican.

If Akin wins, we ALL win, regardless if you understand that or not.

If Akin wins, then a moral coward who makes Republicans look bad will be in the Senate for at least the next six years. Think he’d have the decency to go away after that? No, I don’t either. Which means he’ll be there siz years, and then lose to some Democrat only slightly less repugnant than McCaskill.

If Akin wins, all of us who want the republican Party represented by decent human beings lose. Because Akin isn’t one.

Look, he claims to believe that their shouldn’t be a rape exception for abortion. Fine. But when asked about it, he wimped. He refused to make a moral case for the position, and instead tried to claim that it’s not a real problem.

That is moral cowardice. That’s why any pro-lifer who defend Akin is a chump, and a fool.

Not one dime.

Greg Q on October 15, 2012 at 5:57 PM

That is moral cowardice. That’s why any pro-lifer who defend Akin is a chump, and a fool.

Not one dime.

Greg Q on October 15, 2012 at 5:57 PM

We’ll all be served well by McCaskill’s re-election, then, by your definition. Good for us…

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 6:30 PM

But all of these discussions are really taking us farther and farther away from the discussions we should be having: How is Akin on economic issues? How is he on foreign policy? Will he vote solidly with conservatives in the Senate? These are the questions we should be discussing in relation to Todd Akin.

butterflies and puppies on October 15, 2012 at 5:57 PM

And now you’re asking RINOs to stray into discussion they know well enough they will lose.

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 6:32 PM

“At this point, why not pitch in? Akin’s the Republican candidate, and the race is definitely not lost.”

Because Akin is a worthless scum of the Earth who is a member of Akin Party, not the Republican Party. As I pointed out on my blog, Akin’s answer wasn’t just politically dumb, it spoke to his failure as a human being. He’s a moral coward, an idiot, and a greedy, grasping, self-absorbed self-important creep.

Not one dime.

Greg Q on October 15, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Absolutely. And he should not get any support from the RNC either. PACS can do as they wish.
I’m surprised that ALL the comments only reflect his moronic rape remarks. Is no one aware of the fact that he didn’t report $130K in income??
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82029.html
He’s our own little Timmy Geitner too.
If he’s the 50th Rep. Senator…I hope he wins over the other scum sucker. If not…I hope he loses so that we are rid of him.
If he wins…he should be primaried in 2018 and we all should put that in our long term memory bank.

This one really is the lesser of two evils. Glad I don’t live in MO.

camaraderie on October 15, 2012 at 7:36 PM

There are ton on Christians in Missouri.

And when someone sincerely apologizes to those Christians they tend to……..

forgive.

Damn crummy christians!

You’re goin down McCaskell!

KirknBurker on October 15, 2012 at 7:42 PM

camaraderie on October 15, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Should we vote instead for Claire?

I thought not.

Now hold your nose and vote for the man.

KirknBurker on October 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Should we vote instead for Claire?

I thought not.

Now hold your nose and vote for the man.

KirknBurker on October 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM

Interesting how liberals come out of the closet trying to present themselves as “concerned conservatives”. McCaskill’s re-election will hurt the ENTIRE COUNTRY, not just one particular state.

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Absolutely. And he should not get any support from the RNC either. PACS can do as they wish.
I’m surprised that ALL the comments only reflect his moronic rape remarks. Is no one aware of the fact that he didn’t report $130K in income??
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82029.html
He’s our own little Timmy Geitner too.
If he’s the 50th Rep. Senator…I hope he wins over the other scum sucker. If not…I hope he loses so that we are rid of him.
If he wins…he should be primaried in 2018 and we all should put that in our long term memory bank.

This one really is the lesser of two evils. Glad I don’t live in MO.

camaraderie on October 15, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Oh, my heart’s crying for your concern.

Hey, TROLL, care to illuminate for us the BILLIONS stolen and not reported by the liberals?

riddick on October 15, 2012 at 8:43 PM

I live in Missouri and I have noticed the ads that Mcaskill and her allies are running are really terrible. The ads they are running may be doing her more harm than good.

painfulTruthDisciple on October 15, 2012 at 9:37 PM

It’s not a possibility. The whole story is based on a poll that we would be mocking if it came from a Dem-leaning pollster.

alwaysfiredup on October 15, 2012 at 4:31 PM

Another victory for the 1st Amendment, we can mock who we choose.

Wade on October 16, 2012 at 10:05 AM

http://politicmo.com/2012/10/17/american-bridge-targets-akin-with-audio-mailer/

So this hit today. You knew it was coming.

For people who are really paying attention to this race: Romney per Rasmussen is winning Missouri 51-46 and McCaskill is beating Akin 46-51. There are a lot of people deliberately splitting their tickets and this difference is almost entirely composed of Independents. Independents do not like Akin. They often do not like Republicans at all. IMO, frustration with the current administration leads them to vote Romney, but it doesn’t go so far as to vote Akin, and voting for a Democrat in the Senate makes them feel better about their Romney vote.

These musical cards have never been used before. Novelty alone will cause lots of people to open them and then hear precisely how stupid Akin sounded in the interview that imploded his candidacy. Yay.

Oh, sure, he can pull this off….

alwaysfiredup on October 17, 2012 at 5:29 PM

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