I’ve had this conversation with various friends, colleagues, even one of my bosses. Congressman Todd Akin could very well win Missouri’s senate race and many people think he will.
Akin and McCaskill are in a statistical dead heat. The latest Mason Dixon had McCaskill +2 with a +4 margin of error; RCP politics has McCaskill +6 and includes a skewed poll with pitiful response rate from Survey USA. It’s meant strictly to demoralize Republicans voter turnout to the low level Democrats are expecting from their own side. The fact is that daylight between the pair is shrinking.
Romney has a double-digit lead over Obama in Missouri, momentum that appears only to grow with each day. The bigger the margin of victory, the longer the coattails. While Romney is no Reagan, coattails could mean the difference between a Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell senate majority leader. Reagan’s margin of victory flipped twelve senate seats and thus the entire senate in 1980. Missouri media would have you believe that this phenomena isn’t an option for Romney, that despite the measured enthusiasm, despite the voter intensity from the right in 2010 and during the primaries, Romney’s coattails are “tattered” and conservatives are “demoralized.” This is the narrative they want you to believe. Obama actually had no coattails in 2010: the President famously lost the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races in 09—a year after David Axelrod crowed that Virginia, which went to Obama, was a bellwether state. Obama became poison to incumbents, so much so that incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill has refused to campaign or be seen with Obama these past couple of years. When he comes to town for fundraises, she dashes across the state. She’s happy to vote with him 98% of the time in DC and maintains a very extreme left record, however. Yet the President has proven so poisonous to reelection bids that his surrogates are better sent.
Media wants to hit back at this truthful characteristic by claiming the same of Romney, whose swing state rallies have drawn audiences averaging in the mid-five figures. It remains to be seen on election night, but the statistics are in Akin’s favor: the wider the margin of victory, the longer the coattails in an already tight race.
Missouri is at this juncture a very red state. Aside from McCaskill’s numerous scandals, the other unreported story is that in every single poll with a legitimate sampling, her unfavorability is either greater or tied with Akin’s. Take that how you will, but it has more to do with McCaskill’s record than Romney’s coattails.
Of course, so much of this depends on voter turnout. Romney’s double digit victory won’t mean anything if voters sit this one out and once in the voting booth fed up voters aren’t likely to mark Republican all over the ballot save for the Senate race. The “alternative,” if you can call it that, isn’t an alternative either. The goal is to remove crooks from office, not elect another one into office. The choice is simple for Missouri conservatives: if you don’t want Harry Reid controlling the senate, you’d better vote for Akin.
All will be told tomorrow night.