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Poll: Sen. McCaskill Looks Vulnerable For Defeat In 2012

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Newscom / Derik Holtmann

In the poll against potential Republican challengers, McCaskill edged out Rep. Todd Akin 45% to 44%, even though just over half of respondents didn't know Akin well enough to form an opinion of him. McCaskill also led former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman 45% to 42%, and topped Ed Martin 46% to 40%. McCaskill's only comfortable lead came against one-time state GOP chair Ann Wagner, whom she led 45% to 36%.

Steelman and Martin are the only two candidates to officially announce that they'll run in the GOP primary. A PPP poll conducted last year actually showed McCaskill trailing Jim Talent, whom she defeated in 2006, 47% to 45%, though Talent has since said he will not run again.

McCaskill's biggest problem comes down to her absolute lack of support from Republican voters. She posted a middling 46% approval rating in the latest survey, but her support was split almost perfectly down party lines. Eight in ten Republicans said they disapproved of her job performance, while 85% of Democrats approved.

That pattern held true in the hypothetical Senate races. There, McCaskill drew crossover support from just 7% of Republicans in two contests, and from only 8% in the other two match-ups.

The PPP poll was conducted March 30-6 among 612 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 4.0%.

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