PPP: McCaskill 45, Akin 44 in Missouri

Another week, another encouraging poll for Akin from dKos’s pollster. The last one, which was based on a ridiculous R+9 sample, helped convince him to stay in the race. Now, with the GOP still quietly pushing behind the scenes to get him to bail out, here comes the cavalry again:

53% of voters say that they accept Akin’s apology for his comments last week to 40% who do not. For most Missourians Akin’s words weren’t a permanent deal breaker. Although Democrats are not ready to forgive him, 77% of Republicans say they accept his apology to only 18% who do not…

Only 37% of voters now say they think Akin should withdraw from the race to 54% who believe he should not. There’s a bipartisan consensus that he should stay in- 57% of independents, 53% of Democrats, and 52% of Republicans think he should continue running. There’s clearly a disconnect on Akin’s candidacy between GOP leaders in Washington DC and actual GOP voters back in Missouri…

One thing this whole episode hasn’t done is soften voters’ opinions of Claire McCaskill. Only 40% of voters approve of the job she’s doing to 55% who disapprove. Even though 32% of Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of Akin, only 11% of them actually say that they’re going to vote for McCaskill.

The sample this time is R+2, a more realistic model for Missouri in November, so yeah, some of the shock value from his “legitimate rape” comments has clearly worn off. His favorable rating has improved too, from a gruesome 24/58 after his comments were first widely reported to, er, 33/56 now. Which is bad, but not that much worse than McCaskill’s rating. In fact, Obama’s job approval in the state is just 39/55. It is conceivable that Hopenchange and its Senate enablers will fail so miserably that even Akin can ride the public’s disgust to victory. But then, the argument against him isn’t that he absolutely can’t win (although plenty of strategists believe that), it’s that he’s making a seat that’s easily winnable into a toss-up.

How easily winnable? Compare Romney’s numbers to Akin’s:

Romney crushes Obama by 12 points, thanks to near-total unity from Republicans, a surprising and encouraging number of Democratic crossovers, and a de facto even split among independents. He should have significant coattails for the Senate race, especially given McCaskill’s unpopularity, but there’s a chunk of Republicans who are ambivalent about Akin and a critical mass of indies who are balking. The result: A slight edge for the incumbent. Same deal when you split for gender:

The swing among women is more dramatic — 15 points total, from +8 for Mitt(!) to -7 for Akin — but there’s a sharp 10-point effect among men too, from +18 for Mitt to +8 for Akin. A sturdy yet bland Portman-esque Senate would probably lead McCaskill by upwards of 10 points in this environment. As it is, coin flip.

Doesn’t sound like Akin’s going anywhere, though:

Can’t wait to see what the next Missouri poll from a different pollster looks like. Exit question for Reince Priebus: What now?