Green Room

Missouri voters “chose” Akin? Not so much.

posted at 2:00 pm on August 22, 2012 by

Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate from Missouri, has pledged to stay in the race despite remarks about rape and abortion that are wildly inaccurate at best and horrifically insensitive at worst—or, as I believe, both. I won’t repeat them here as they’ve been widely circulated already. They represented the thoughts of a muddled and misinformed mind.

Akin seems to think that he should soldier on because the Republican voters of Missouri chose him above the other primary candidates to carry the GOP banner against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. On ABC’s Good Morning America, Akin said:

“The people of Missouri chose me to be their candidate. And I don’t believe it’s right for party bosses to decide to override those voters.”

The “party bosses” comment is risible. As Ed has pointed out on this blog, those calling for Akin to drop out of the race include a list of conservatives who’ve long argued for purer conservative stances than those espoused by party elders in the past. They’re not RINOS, in other words.

But Akin’s initial statement is just as off base—about being chosen by Missouri voters. That implies a groundswell of support, and the truth is at odds with that implication. Yes, he became the nominee, but he hardly has a mandate to lead the conservative charge in the Show-Me State.

Let’s examine the facts:

Six out of ten people actually voted against Todd Akin in the Missouri U.S. Senatorial primary. His primary opponents, John Brunner and Sarah Steelman, each pulled in around 30 percent of the vote to Akin’s 36 percent. Because the state doesn’t use run-off elections for winners with less than 50 percent of the vote, we’ll never know if Akin would have survived a head-to-head challenge.

However, a poll taken before the August 7 Missouri primary offers some interesting insights into Missouri Republicans’ preferences. According to a Mason-Dixon poll conducted July 23-25,  400 “likely Republican primary voters” responded this way to the question: If the Republican primary election for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat were held today, which one of the following candidates would get your vote:

John Brunner: 33 percent

Sarah Steelman: 27 percent

Todd Akin: 17 percent

When these top three candidates were placed in the poll head-to-head with incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, the results were just as telling:

John Brunner: 52 percent

Claire McCaskill: 41 percent

 

Sarah Steelman: 49 percent

Claire McCaskill: 41 percent

 

Todd Akin: 49 percent

Claire McCaskill: 44 percent

Note which of those three match-ups fares the poorest. Yes, it’s the one with the self-proclaimed Republican Messiah in it, Todd Akin.

And, to make matters worse, Akin loses to McCaskill among women, in the Mason-Dixon poll, while Brunner and Steelman beat McCaskill in that subset. Wonder how the women’s vote will swing today in Missouri?

Of course, new polls show…Akin’s lost ground since the Mason-Dixon pre-primary survey.  An August 20 PPP poll showed he was pulling 44 percent of voters’ support to McCaskill’s 43 percent. So, while she’s holding about steady, he is sinking, even before the true effect of his ridiculous comments have had a chance to resonate.

Whatever Akin thinks party bosses want, it’s not clear at all that Missouri voters want him.

___

Libby Sternberg is  a novelist.

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The only Missourian that “wanted” Akin was Claire McRascall, and she got him.

Rogue on August 22, 2012 at 3:21 PM

This doesn’t even count the $1.5 mil Claire spent to get Akin elected, either. We so need a runoff rule, so that the nominee can truthfully claim a majority of the party wants him/her there.

alwaysfiredup on August 22, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Palin split the MO primary vote; otherwise Brunner would’ve won. Heck of a job Sarah.

IR-MN on August 22, 2012 at 4:47 PM

If this bothers you people, how about we give serious consideration to repealing the 17th amendment? That would not only prevent a massive fustercluck like this from happening again, but it would be more in line consistent with the founding fathers’ wishes in establishing a bicameral legislature.

gryphon202 on August 22, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Here is all I care about: If they are so stubborn in Missouri, and don’t care that the congressman’s comments have now embarrassed them Nationally, because of their Righteousness, then prove it to your republican friends around the country.

I insist that Missouri republicans put all their money where their big dumb mouth is, and prop up this man’s campaign and carry him over the finish line, because they OWE it to us out here who have been working hard for a couple years to get our candidates elected without this kind of ignorant theme dragging them down.

I would rather they replace him, with someone well known and trusted.

Fleuries on August 22, 2012 at 7:25 PM

But Akin’s initial statement is just as off base—about being chosen by Missouri voters.

He won a plurality of the vote. By the rules of the Missouri primary process, that means he won the right to be the GOP nominee for Senate. He won that right because of the choices of the voters of Missouri. Get over it.

Stoic Patriot on August 22, 2012 at 10:47 PM

I am SOOOOOOO glad Texas uses run-offs. A clear primary winner is usually much stronger going into November, and the pressure of a head-to-head run-off usually exposes a candidate’s weaknesses more clearly than a multi-candidate ballot.
Dew-hurts is only the most recent example of something I’ve seen repeatedly over the years. A guy with name recognition gets a plurality and then has to actually convince the voters to win just the nomination will do one of two things, blow out the run-off or destroy himself.

The GOP needs to implement a run-off system in all states. It won’t eliminate embarrassments like Akin, but it would at least reduce them.

Random Numbers (Brian Epps) on August 23, 2012 at 4:46 AM

He won a plurality of the vote. By the rules of the Missouri primary process, that means he won the right to be the GOP nominee for Senate. He won that right because of the choices of the voters of Missouri. Get over it.

You miss the point. Yes, he’s the legitimate nominee (I acknowledge that), but he is currently acting as if he won the nomination with some overwhelming groundswell of support. He was the weakest candidate and probably benefited from some Democratic mischief. His ego is what needs to “get over it.” If he were a humbler, less delusional man, he’d realize just how replaceable he is.

Libby Sternberg on August 23, 2012 at 5:51 AM

And IR-MN brings the PDS in only the third comment! Maybe not a record, but definitely a contender.

SDN on August 23, 2012 at 8:43 AM

You miss the point. Yes, he’s the legitimate nominee (I acknowledge that), but he is currently acting as if he won the nomination with some overwhelming groundswell of support. He was the weakest candidate and probably benefited from some Democratic mischief. His ego is what needs to “get over it.” If he were a humbler, less delusional man, he’d realize just how replaceable he is.

Libby Sternberg on August 23, 2012 at 5:51 AM

As I said on the other thread, Akin is no more replaceable in any legal, practical sense than Mitt Romney is. To call Akin “replaceable” suggests that we have a way to replace him, and whatever you think of him, I’m not so sure we even do.

gryphon202 on August 23, 2012 at 9:41 AM

As I said on the other thread, Akin is no more replaceable in any legal, practical sense than Mitt Romney is. To call Akin “replaceable” suggests that we have a way to replace him, and whatever you think of him, I’m not so sure we even do.

He can petition a judge to be taken off the ballot, as has been pointed out. He has a while for that deadline to arrive. If he does so, I’m sure the local GOP can submit a replacement.

I also think a write-in would be better than this nut. I don’t like to name call, but when you hold views such as his about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy (which he really hasn’t adequately explained or backed down from in my view – I have absolutely no confidence he understands what he said wrong), you are a nut.

I get it that you don’t like Romney. You want him off the ballot? Go for it.

You’re trying to draw an equivalency between people unhappy with Romney’s selection as the nominee and those of us who are angry about this fellow clinging to a nomination he barely won and after demonstrating he’s not fit for the job.

Libby Sternberg on August 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

You’re trying to draw an equivalency between people unhappy with Romney’s selection as the nominee and those of us who are angry about this fellow clinging to a nomination he barely won and after demonstrating he’s not fit for the job.

Libby Sternberg on August 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

I’d say I’m trying and succeeding, considering how many of my fellow voters nationwide are actually upset about Romney’s *ideology*.

It simply concerns me that we are elevating a state-level election in which a candidate has shown an undeniable and near-unprecedented level of stupidity, above the national election of a guy who has spent his life distancing himself from movement conservatism. Are you going to try and tell me that’s not what’s happening?

Todd Akin has shown no inclination towards removing himself from the ballot. NONE. Okay. So now what? I merely said that it would be as easy for those who are upset with Akin to remove him as it would be for those upset with Romney to find another presidential candidate. Am I wrong about that?

I get that you don’t like Akin, and I’ll concede you have a pretty good reason. But guess what? The people of Missouri are stuck with him on the ballot in all likelihood. I say that without snark, or sarcasm, or irony, and I’m not here to be a flamthrower towards you or anyone else, Libby. Truth remains, it is what it is, and it’s going to come down to a crappy choice between Romney and Obama Akin and McCaskill. Any other remotely possible scenario is as much a pipe dream as my wish that I didn’t have to vote for Willard Milton Romney.

gryphon202 on August 23, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I’d say I’m trying and succeeding, considering how many of my fellow voters nationwide are actually upset about Romney’s *ideology*.

I quantified the “upset” people fell with Akin with vote percentages and poll numbers. I suspect if you looked at the same with Romney, you’d not find an equivalency. As much as you disagree with Romney’s ideology, I think he has strong support right now.

It simply concerns me that we are elevating a state-level election in which a candidate has shown an undeniable and near-unprecedented level of stupidity, above the national election of a guy who has spent his life distancing himself from movement conservatism. Are you going to try and tell me that’s not what’s happening?

You think we should be wailing about Romney because of his ideology. Wail away (as you are doing). That doesn’t preclude the need to decry something as stupid as what Akin said. And it is not just a state-level issue. It seeps into national politics and pro-life discussions as Akin is held up as some kind of GOP/conservative/pro-life standard. Anyone who holds those values dear should be denouncing him and loudly. That’s the point of the ruckus.

So now what? I merely said that it would be as easy for those who are upset with Akin to remove him as it would be for those upset with Romney to find another presidential candidate. Am I wrong about that?

Yes. There are mechanisms still available by which Akin can step down.

I get that you don’t like Akin, and I’ll concede you have a pretty good reason. But guess what? The people of Missouri are stuck with him on the ballot in all likelihood.

Although Akin has demonstrated a phenomenal level of denial and egotism, it’s still possible for him to drop out. Continuing to encourage him to do so, therefore, is not a bad idea.

Libby Sternberg on August 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

Although Akin has demonstrated a phenomenal level of denial and egotism, it’s still possible for him to drop out. Continuing to encourage him to do so, therefore, is not a bad idea.

Libby Sternberg on August 23, 2012 at 10:53 AM

That’s my point, Libby. Theroetically, it’s possible for Romney to drop out too. But it’s just as likely that Akin will as it is that Romney will. Do you really believe that there is a realistic chance that Akin will drop out of the race of his own volition? I’m not asking you what I think he should do. I’m asking you what you think he will do

I hope you don’t misunderstand me and think that I want Akin to stay in. I’m agnostic on that particular point, chiefly because I don’t live in Missouri and as long as I can’t vote there, I don’t think I can effect an outcome there in any meaningful way. I do wish that we were paying more attention to the presidential race right now, but the attitude among Republicans seems to be “Oh well. That ship has sailed.” Pardon the facepalm.

gryphon202 on August 23, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Theroetically, it’s possible for Romney to drop out too. But it’s just as likely that Akin will as it is that Romney will.

Nope, that’s off. Romney won’t be dropping out because he has strong support, which you can probably find if you dig into polling now. Akin doesn’t have it (look at the Rasmussen poll on the Hot Air homepage). Akin might be moved by those poll numbers, even though he is stubborn.

I hope you don’t misunderstand me and think that I want Akin to stay in. I’m agnostic on that particular point, chiefly because I don’t live in Missouri and as long as I can’t vote there, I don’t think I can effect an outcome there in any meaningful way. I do wish that we were paying more attention to the presidential race right now, but the attitude among Republicans seems to be “Oh well. That ship has sailed.” Pardon the facepalm.

I think the reason you’re not seeing the same level of angst at the presidential race level is because your feelings are not shared by as many people as you’d like. I’ve had my doubts about Romney, too, but I’m fully supportive now, as are a lot of conservatives. I think he has potential — the potential to be another Reagan. I think he’s grown into the nomination and will grow on the job. I know you disagree, but that’s my opinion.

As to being an “agnostic” on Akin staying in…I’m sorry, but I have a problem with that attitude. What Akin said was hateful to women. Deeply offensive. Good people everywhere should condemn it, and members of his party and ideological brethren in particular should disavow him.

I was trying to respond to this earlier but something happened, so I hope this doesn’t show up as a repeated response!

Libby Sternberg on August 23, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Assuming Akin won’t “come to the aid of his Party” (by stepping aside), in a head-to-head matchup, I think:

1) Akin can be educated to keep his inadvertant, idiotic
inner-monogues to himself, whereas…

2) Claire McCaskill intentionally voted for ObamaCare,
a deliberate and calculated decision on her part.

Therefore, I predict that folks in The Show Me State will hold their noses, and return to their Republican roots…

http://piqscore.com/missouri/

… since they’ve NEVER gone Democrat, except in 1992-1996, when Ross Perot was stealing voted from Bush and Dole.

VastRightWingConspirator on August 23, 2012 at 4:57 PM

…I predict that folks in The Show Me State will hold their noses, and return to their Republican roots…

http://piqscore.com/missouri/

… since they’ve NEVER gone Democrat, except in 1992-1996, when Ross Perot was stealing voted from Bush and Dole.

VastRightWingConspirator on August 23, 2012 at 4:57 PM

I hope you’re right. I really don’t want to see McCaskill win in Missouri. I do have a problem with the same folks telling me I have to have to have to vote for Romney, else I am aiding and abetting Obama, and then they turn around and work their circular firing squad mojo on Todd Akin. There are good and valid reasons for wanting Akin gone, but I find myself neck-deep in hypocrisy trying to navigate the particulars of this debate.

gryphon202 on August 23, 2012 at 6:44 PM

MO Republicans picked Akin in the primary. The same way every State picks their Senate Candidates.

After the primary, Akin made one very stupid, unthinking comment. Biden can beat that before breakfast. Now the question is can he recover from that stupid comment?

MO Republicans are stuck with him on the ballot. Adding a write in candidate will likely only split the vote allowing Claire to win.

Cheer up though, if this guy is the only bad mistake the Republicans have made this cycle, I think we are going to be very pleased with November’s vote.

jpmn on August 24, 2012 at 10:51 AM