Sen Claire McCaskill (D-MO) may face a tough road to reelection in 2012 according to a new PPP poll of registered voters that shows her just barely squeaking past a number of potential challengers.
McCaskill won election to her first term in 2006, but by a slim two-point margin in a year when Democrats romped to victory nationwide. As a result, her seat has been viewed as a toss-up heading into 2012, something the poll’s results seem to confirm.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%.