Polls Show Near Impossible Road Ahead For Akin

Two new polls out of Missouri suggest that any idea that Todd Akin may have that he could somehow still win against Senator Claire McCaskill is little more than a fantasy of his own making. First up, there’s a new poll from SurveyUSA showing that a majority of Missourians think he should drop out of the race: 

By 5:3, Missourians say Congressman Todd Akin, a Republican running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, should drop out of the race, following comments about rape and abortion made public 08/19/12, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted 08/20/12 for KSDK-TV in St. Louis, and KSPR-TV and KYTV-TV in Springfield MO.

54% statewide, including a majority of men and women, and a majority of those in 4 of the state’s 5 regions, say Akin should quit the race and allow another Republican to run in his place. 35% say Akin should continue his bid to unseat McCaskill. A large majority, 76%, do not share Akin’s views on rape and pregnancy. But it is important to note that 13% do share his views, including 16% of pro-life voters, 19% of conservatives and 24% of African Americans. Akin says that he mis-spoke. But 55% in Missouri don’t buy it.

Missourians are conflicted about whether Akin’s views are widely held. Just 14% say Akin’s views are shared by “most men”; but 24% say Akin’s views are shared by “most Republicans.”

Last night, meanwhile, a new Public Policy Polling poll seemed to show  that Akin was still competitive in the head-to-head race, but there are several caveats to take into account:

Missouri voters strongly disagree with the comments Todd Akin made about abortion over the weekend, but it hasn’t moved the numbers a whole lot in the Senate race. Akin leads Claire McCaskill by a single point, 44-43. That’s basically identical to our last poll of the contest in late May, which found Akin ahead by a 45-44 spread.

It’s not that Missouri voters are ok with or supportive of Akin’s comments. 75% of voters, including even 64% of Republicans, say they were inappropriate to only 9% who consider them to have been appropriate. 79% of voters say they disagree with what Akin said, including 65% who express ‘strong’ disagreement with him. 51% of GOP voters say they strongly disagree with him.

All of that is taking a toll on Akin’s image. Only 24% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 58% with a negative one. He’s pretty universally disliked by Democrats (3/85) and independents (21/61) and even with Republicans (43/34) he’s on only narrowly positive ground.

I wouldn’t put too much stock in the head-to-head number just now. First of all, this is a flash poll conducted over only one night whereas PPP typically polls over three nights in order to get a representative sample, Second, as Ed Morrissey points out, the polls seems to have oversampled Republicans, which calls the head-to head numbers into question. What really matters are those unfavorable numbers, especially considering the fact that the poll oversampled Republicans. It’s going to be next to impossible for Akin to recover from this with numbers like that, especially if he stays in the race and McCaskill just keeps pounding the airwaves with this remark, and the huge number of Republicans who have disavowed him. The NRSC has abandon him, the RNC has removed his name from the script used for phonebanking in the state, and SuperPACs like Crossroads GPS are pulling out of the state. If he stays in the race, he’ll be virtually defenseless and outgunned. Logically, one would think he’d see this. Apparently, he still doesn’t.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Congress, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    ” If he stays in the race, he’ll be virtually defenseless and outgunned. Logically, one would think he’d see this. Apparently, he still doesn’t.”

    But God is on his side (I know because Mike Huckabee told me so). Go Todd.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    Run, Todd, Run!

  3. Murray says:

    “Logically, one would think he’d see this. Apparently, he still doesn’t.”


    We are talking about a guy who believes (or at the least believed) that women “can shut all that down”.

  4. Trenchpress says:

    Obama is right “Rape is Rape”; Rape: “take away by force”; Democrats in the closet rapists? http://trenchpress.com/?p=17441

    Akin makes one mistake and told to drop out, while most make a dozen mistakes and told forgive them. But Todd Akin that didn’t rape is worse than the rapist by many.The Republicans are lately being guilty of hypocrisy.

    People are swayed by what the media says and for the GOP to not have a backbone speaks volumes, and can be seen as worse than the Democrats. The GOP burned many republicans by pushing for the most far left candidate and they are burning the rest of their base to not be united like the Democrats.

  5. Rick Almeida says:

    I lived in Missouri for 9 years (Columbia and Cape Girardeau), and it’s very hard for me to believe that Akin’s comment will hurt him all that much in November.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick Almeida: Rick, as I said yesterday it won’t hurt him much in the Bible Belt of Missouri, but it could well cost him St Louis and all it’s suburbs, KC and all it’s suburbs (the suburbs of both lean Republican) and cost him votes in areas he should get overwhelming support, Cape, Jeff City, Springfield. I think he will still win in those places but not as handily.

    (an aside: I always felt Columbia leaned Dem, am I wrong?)

    McCaskill’s real problem has always been that as a conservative Democrat she was trying to have it both ways and appeal to independents. Now, in an election like this one where she needs the base to turn out, she has no base (hard for any Dem to build a state wide base, tho Nixon seems to have). It is not that Akin will beat her, she has already beaten herself.

    Regardless, this race just became a whole lot more interesting.

  7. KansasMom says:

    @Rick Almeida: I have no doubt that a Kansas republican saying that would still cruise to victory and Missouri, outside of KC and St. Louis, becomes a little more like Kansas (and Oklahoma and Arkansas) every day.

  8. Rick Almeida says:


    Thanks for the reply. Yes, Columbia itself leans solidly Democratic, but Boone County (like so much of rural America) does not. Plus, St. Louis & its white suburbs are heavily Catholic, and I am not sure Akin’s comments now will hold too much sway in November.

    I also think you are exactly right about McCaskill’s lack of base.

    Putting those 2 pieces together, I just don’t see too much medium-term disadvantage for Akin.

  9. wr says:

    If Akin stays in the race, the RNC and Crossroads and all the others will pretend to distance themselves from him for a few weeks, then come roaring back with money in September. They don’t care what a vile human being he is. They want the Senate.

  10. Bob2 says:

    Doug Mataconis makes a call. Since he is always wrong, Akin’s staying in the race.

  11. legion says:

    @Trenchpress: Wow, project much? The Dem party has been pretty much taking the same line on policy its had for many years now; changes have been slow but steady. It’s actually the GOP that has shifted hard to the extreme position and pushed many of its more moderate members to the curb. You’re wrong about everything you think. For instance,

    Akin makes one mistake and told to drop out

    No. Akin has been a disgracefully stupid neanderthal for years now.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rick Almeida:

    Plus, St. Louis & its white suburbs are heavily Catholic,

    I grew up Catholic in St Louis (now living in very conservative Wash Co) and the one thing I can say about Catholics in St. Louis is…. Most of them are not very Catholic. Meaning that they pick and choose the Catholic values they follow. They will go to church every Sunday and support any # of Catholic organizations but when it comes to Church Doctrine they are very likely to tell the Bishops to “Go F Yourself.”

    They do tend to be Pro-Life, but they are also first in line to get their daughters on birth control. My mother volunteered at Birth-Right for years, but she admitted to me that there were a # of sad occasions where she advised the very scared and pregnant woman/girl on the other end of the line that she really did need an abortion.

  13. Post-Akin, I propose a Sir Bedevere litmus test for all GOP candidates; just demonstrate a basic understanding and acceptance of general post-Enlightenment scientific knowledge.

    “This new learning amazes me Sir Bedevere. Explain again how sheep’s bladders may be employed to prevent earthquakes.”

    Going forward, we really need to do a better job of weeding out candidates inclined to go on television and spew medievalism all over themselves and the rest of the party.


  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Also this analysis by Blue Girl via Ed Kilgore is interesting. She is obviously far more knowledgeable about MO politics than I.

  15. JohnMcC says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: As always, late to the party. I was going to link to the same Wahington Monthly post. Will satisfy myself by merely recommending it highly.

  16. TrenchPress says:


    “Rape: (transitive verb) “1 a archaic : to seize and take away by force”” Even in most cultures rape means force.

    What do you think the Democrats have been pushing for? SOPA, NDAA, Gun control, welfare, warfare, etc. The Republicans lately are guilty of that too.

    Bad enough some popular left wing news sites are making jokes about rape, since for them rape is a laughing matter.

    Obviously what I said is not popular since most people push for laws which rape others. As Obama said “Rape is Rape”, and for people to miss the big picture then their is some serious problems which will only lead to more people being raped by one way or another. Most people are ignorant and completely miss the point and refuse to see the full explanation since they are afraid of looking in the mirror. Fully explained: http://trenchpress.com/?p=17441

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Obviously what I said is not popular since most people push for laws which rape others.

    Actually what you wrote isn’t popular because it is idiotic and erroneous…

  18. Me Me Me says:

    @TrenchPress: I think “archaic” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  19. Brook says:

    Well, that’s funny, Senator. I’m wondering if the wide net you cast would snare Joe Biden and his daily dose of stupid.

  20. Trenchpress says:

    I will make it simple for some.
    REAL rape getting raped for real, FAKE rape saying you were raped when it was consensual.

    1999 Journal of Medicine backs Todd Akin’s claim that Rape Pregnancies Are Rare?

    “In an average population, the miscarriage rate is about 15 percent. In this case we have incredible emotional trauma. Her body is upset. Even if she conceives, the miscarriage rate will be higher than in a more normal pregnancy. If 20 percent of raped women miscarry, the figure drops to 450 (or 740).”

    “Finally, factor in what is certainly one of the most important reasons why a rape victim rarely gets pregnant, and that’s physical trauma. Every woman is aware that stress and emotional factors can alter her menstrual cycle. To get and stay pregnant a woman’s body must produce a very sophisticated mix of hormones.”

    ****RAPE: (transitive verb) “1 a archaic: to seize and take away by FORCE” Laws forced on you since others know best is right? Minority or even majority rule on what others want to force on you then that rape is ok? Many have died and suffered far more in that kind of rape which many make light of it and ignore.****

  21. An Interested Party says:

    I will make it simple for some.

    Indeed…you seem to have a lot of experience with being simple…

  22. TrenchPress says:

    @An Interested Party:
    I will even make it simpler for you.
    “I was forcibly raped… I now work in a rape recovery center… women who claim to have gotten pregnant while raped…I get them alone….all of them said the sex was consensual… never seen a true rape case result in pregnancy.”

    So will people attack the raped girl that said “a true rape”?
    true = Legitimate
    For people to be intentionally be ignorant to not see both sites should not talk since they only speak 1/2 truths.