CBS: Sources say Akin might quit if he doesn't get early support

Yeah, well, on Monday there were also sources whispering to prominent conservatives on Twitter that Akin would be out on Tuesday. One of the salient facts about this guy is that, for a sitting congressman, he appears to be unusually cloistered from the party’s leadership: Not only is his family running his campaign, but if you believe Mark Halperin, GOP bigwigs had trouble even getting him on the phone yesterday. What do “sources” know in a case like this?

But here you go anyway. Hope springs eternal:

If he stays on the ballot, Akin will have to rebuild without any money from the national party and with new misgivings among rank-and-file Republican voters who just two weeks ago propelled him to a comfortable victory in a hotly contested three-way primary.

But, says Andrews, “Two sources tell CBS News Aiken’s real strategy here is to hang tough — for now — and see if that wins enough money and support to stay in the race. In others words– his final decision to stay in–may not be final.”

In a potential sign of his strategy, Akin appealed Tuesday to Christian evangelicals, anti-abortion activists and anti-establishment Republicans. He said he remains the best messenger to highlight respect for life and liberty that he contends are crumbling under the big-government policies of President Obama.

Ed noted earlier that Akin was notably noncommittal about staying in the race when pressed on it this morning. If there was any huge groundswell of support for him among social conservatives, we should have seen it over the past two days as “party bosses” — Akin’s term for basically the entire Republican Party and conservative commentariat — piled on him to drop out. His online fundraising haul as I write this, after two days of relentless national media coverage: A shade over $25,000, a drop in the bucket in a state where the NRSC was prepared to spend $5 million on his behalf. Speaking of which, the next deadline is approaching:

Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is closely watching another deadline: Sept. 11, the date on which its $5 million ad buy was scheduled to begin to blister McCaskill from then until Election Day.

If Akin stays in the race at that point, the NRSC plans to scrap the ad buy. But if the party committee were to cancel the ad buy and later rebook it on behalf of a new candidate, the NRSC would have to pay for the ads at much higher rates, costing the party significant resources that could otherwise go toward another candidate in a tight race.

All of which adds to a continued sense of urgency among party officials worried that Akin’s blunder could wash away their chances of a Senate majority in the fall.

Looks like I was wrong, then, about the NRSC eventually being pressured to step in on Akin’s behalf if he hangs in there. It’s not a simple matter of releasing the money they’d earmarked for him; it’s a matter potentially of either having to raise more or pulling funds earmarked for other competitive Senate candidates to try to drag him over the finish line. They’ve got three weeks to watch the polls and decide whether he’s worth gambling on.

As for what convinced Akin to keep going, it was … a robo-poll, taken in the immediate aftermath of his rape comments, before every prominent conservative in America called on him to quit and before a single Democratic attack ad has run.

Embattled Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin commissioned an automated-telephone poll Monday, which showed him in a statistical dead heat with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo, according to a source close to the congressman. That finding, along with a separate Public Policy Polling survey showing the race competitive, played a large role in convincing him not to withdraw from the race before Tuesday’s deadline.

Akin’s internal poll showed 90 percent of respondents were aware of the controversy, leading Akin to conclude he couldn’t fall much further.

How do you suppose he’ll fare among the 10 percent who aren’t aware of the controversy yet, bearing in mind that the margin in this race will be razor thin even in a GOP best-case scenario? The point of calling on him to drop out isn’t that it’s metaphysically impossible for him to win, it’s that with a strong Republican nominee it would be all but impossible to lose. Everything is stacked against McCaskill. Or was, before America was introduced to the fable of the Magic Uterus.

Here’s Paul Ryan in an interview this morning running in the opposite direction. Not sure how much good it’ll do him; sounds like the entire Democratic convention will be Akinpalooza now. Exit question for election lawyers via Matt Lewis: Can Akin and Ann Wagner trade places on their respective ballots?