When National Journal buries a lede, man, they really bury it. A new poll from Mason-Dixon in Missouri of 625 likely voters shows what everyone already suspected — that Todd Akin had blown a five-point lead in Missouri’s US Senate race and now trails by nine, 50/41 [see update], to Claire McCaskill. But what many didn’t expect was that the crash-and-burn of Akin would not damage Mitt Romney at all. In the 9th paragraph out of ten, we find out that Romney leads Barack Obama in the critical swing state, and it’s not all that close:
McCaskill’s lead is a testament to the damage caused by Akin’s remarks. She remains less-than-popular, as slightly more voters view her unfavorably (41 percent) than favorably (39 percent). And, despite worries that Akin’s remarks could also harm the candidacy of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor leads President Obama, 50 percent to 43 percent. Obama’s favorable-unfavorable split of 38 percent-48 percent is worse than McCaskill’s.
It’s not even close. Obama carries the metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Kansas City, but only by 50/39 and 50/43, respectively. Romney gets over 60% in every other area of the state, while Obama can only get to 36%. Obama has leads among women and 18-34YOs, but only by 2 and 10 points, respectively. Romney wins a majority in every other age demo, and has a +14 among men at 54/40. Oddly, the newspaper’s table doesn’t break out independents in the presidential race.
The presidential race isn’t likely to change much, either. Romney’s favorables are a modest 44/32 for a +12, with 23% neutral. Obama, the current incumbent, is at -10 with a 38/48, and 14% neutral. That doesn’t suggest that the Akin debacle is damaging Romney at all, nor boosting Obama. While the 23% neutral is both a risk and an opportunity for the less-well-known Romney, the 14% neutral for an incumbent as well known as Obama is mostly a downside risk; few people will suddenly discover they like Obama in the next few weeks who haven’t already come to that conclusion.
As far as the US Senate race, it’s amazing that Akin’s still within nine points — a testament to the weakness of McCaskill. On the question of whether Akin should withdraw, a slim plurality of McCaskill voters say he shouldn’t (44/40) … but a majority of Akin’s self-described voters think he should, 50/34. Independents think he should withdraw by thirty-two points, 57/25, but 35% of them will still vote for Akin. His favorables are at -39, 17/56, and yet he’s still getting 41% of the vote. Like I said … amazing.
Update: I erred on the Akin-McCaskill splits; I got them turned around and then backwards. I’ve fixed it above.