Blunt now leads Carnahan in MO

Could Missouri be the next Senate seat to fall in 2010?  Last year, Rep. Roy Blunt decided to challenge Democrat Robin Carnahan for the seat in what was called a battle of the dynasties, as both families have long political traditions in the Show-Me State.  Rasmussen initially had Carnahan barely in front of Blunt, but the latest poll of likely Missouri voters now shows Blunt with a six-point lead — and the Secretary of State slipping badly:

Republican Roy Blunt now holds a six-point lead over Democrat Robin Carnahan in Missouri’s race for the U.S. Senate.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in the state finds Blunt ahead of Carnahan 49% to 43%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.

The latest numbers mark a shift in Blunt’s favor from last month when Carnahan had a narrow 46% to 44% edge over her Republican rival. The candidates, both members of prominent Missouri political families, were tied at 46% apiece in September. As it has for other Democrats throughout the nation, the health care issue appears to be creating challenges for Carnahan. Just 37% of Missouri voters favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, but 62% oppose it.

What’s causing the shift? The same reason Democrats lost the safest seat in the Senate earlier this week:

As it has for other Democrats throughout the nation, the health care issue appears to be creating challenges for Carnahan. Just 37% of Missouri voters favor the health care plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats, but 62% oppose it.

Carnahan has some big problems in the internals. First, both candidates are well-known quantities in Missouri, with only 6% not having an opinion of Carnahan and 9% for Blunt.  Carnahan can only manage a 49% favorable rating, a danger sign for any candidate, while Blunt gets 56% — not great, but better than his opponent.  Oddly, Carnahan only gets a 51% favorable from women, while Blunt gets 56%, an unusual gender gap, although at the moment Carnahan edges Blunt with the female vote by two points.

The unaffiliated voters have broken hard for Blunt.  He has a 20-point lead, 52/32, among independent voters.  Furthermore, those voters are much more inclined to oppose ObamaCare, 74%/24%, so the remaining independents will almost all go Blunt’s way in a two-way general election race.  Blunt also gets 12% of Democrats to cross over.

The economy will probably be the deciding factor, at least after ObamaCare.  Only 7% of Democrats, 3% of Republicans, and 9% of independents rate the economic situation as “excellent” or “good”.  Majorities of all three rate it “poor”, the worst option in the survey, with 57% of independents giving that answer.  That doesn’t help Democrats in what will already be a tough election year.

This race looks increasingly like a Republican hold, which should surprise no one this year.

Update: D’oh!  Jefferson City is Missouri’s capital; Harry Truman hailed from Independence.  Forty lashes with a wet noodle for that gaffe.