Missouri’s Senate Democrat Lagging in Polls

Sen. Claire McCaskill. (AP file photo/Susan Walsh)

ST. LOUIS (CN) — A new poll shows Missouri’s Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is running eight points behind her likely Republican challenger, giving her the third most-precarious status among Democratic incumbents in the U.S. Senate.

The Axios/Survey Monkey poll found McCaskill behind Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley by a 44-52 margin.

The poll of 17,289 registered voters in Missouri and nine other states with Democratic senators up for re-election was conducted from Feb. 12 through March 5.

Axios is a nonpartisan news site run by the founder of Politico and others from that site.

Only Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia (42-55) and Jon Tester in Montana (43-52) were in worse shape, according to the poll.

Both of those candidates were matched against generic Republican opponents in the poll because it is not clear who their challengers will be.

Hawley will not be McCaskill’s official opponent until the state primary on Aug. 7. But he holds a commanding lead over his opponents in money and endorsements, which include support from President Donald Trump.

The poll actually showed improvement for McCaskill compared to recent analyses. In February, a CNN analysis declared McCaskill the most vulnerable Senate Democrat on any ballot in the country this November.

Trump won Missouri by almost 20 points in 2016.

McCaskill, then a one-term incumbent, was considered vulnerable in 2012, but won easily after Republican challenger Todd Akin made controversial remarks about abortion: specifically, that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” seldom get pregnant.

McCaskill’s fellow senator from Missouri, Roy Blunt, is Republican.

Thirty-three states will elect U.S. senators in November. Democrats will defend 22 Senate seats, along with two Independent seats whose members caucus with Democrats. Republicans, who hold an effective 51-49 edge, must defend only nine Senate seats.

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