The scandal that forced former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R) from office did some collateral damage to Republicans’ hopes of flipping a key Senate seat, according to a new survey conducted for Democrats’ main Senate super PAC.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) leads Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) by 47 percent to 41 percent in the poll, conducted by the Global Strategy Group and released by Senate Majority PAC. That’s up from a 46 percent to 44 percent lead in April, when the Greitens affair was just starting to boil over.
In the poll, McCaskill’s job favorability numbers have held steady, with slightly more voters approving than disapproving of her. But Hawley’s have slipped. In April, 30 percent of voters approved to 22 percent who disapproved. Now those have reversed, with 21 percent of voters approving and 29 percent disapproving.
It appears that’s mostly a factor of Greitens’ implosion. In mid-April, he was at 39 percent approval and 44 percent disapproval. By mid-June, weeks after he was forced to resign, he had sunk to 24 percent approval and 56 percent disapproval.
Hawley is caught in a bit of a vice on this issue. Democrats slam him for failing to investigate Greitens’ use of lists from his private charity to boost his gubernatorial campaign until he was under glaring scrutiny for his messy sex scandal, while Greitens’ core supporters are furious at Hawley for abandoning the governor during the scandal and contributing to his being forced from office.
The scandal figures to be a major factor in one of the Senate’s top Senate races, as McCaskill tries to once again pull a rabbit out of her hat in the Republican-leaning state.
Global Strategy Group’s live-caller survey of 804 likely Missouri midterm voters was conducted from June 11-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Partisan polls should always be taken with a grain of salt. These numbers still show a tight race, and there’s a good chance Hawley will be able to move past this issue as it fades from the headlines. But right now it appears that she has an edge heading into the home stretch of the campaign.