A poll commissioned by two leading Missouri newspapers indicates the state's Senate race may be narrowing approaching the final week, but internal polling from Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill's campaign tells a different story.
The independent poll, released late Friday night, showed McCaskill holding just a 2-point lead over her beleaguered GOP opponent, Rep. Todd Akin. The poll had a 4-point margin of error.
New internal numbers out this morning, however, showed McCaskill up by double digits, 53 percent to 39 percent. Most other polling has also shown McCaskill well ahead of Akin since he made remarks about pregnancies resulting from what he called "legitimate rape."
"As we plan for the final week of the campaign, Sen. McCaskill is fully in command, and we see no indication that Akin has rebounded. Quite the contrary; his ratings are now as low as we have ever measured them," McCaskill's pollsters from Kiley & Company said in a memo.
The polling firm Mason-Dixon conducted the outside survey of 625 likely voters for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City Star and St. Louis TV station KMOV. Asked about the new numbers, the McCaskill campaign was quick to remind KMOV that a Mason-Dixon poll released shortly before the Republican primary missed the mark entirely.
That poll showed Akin with 17 percent support, placing a distant third behind former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner. Akin prevailed in the primary with about 36 percent of the vote. A Mason-Dixon poll conducted shortly after the rape comments showed McCaskill ahead by 9 points.
McCaskill's campaign launched three new ads statewide earlier in the week, continuing an aggressive campaign in spite of the lead.
"I think from a national perspective, Todd is doing what people said couldn't be done," Akin senior adviser Rick Tyler told KMOV.
Akin's campaign has tried to bring the narrative back to economic issues and McCaskill's job performance and away from his controversial statements, but that's proved difficult with limited campaign resources. It has also been pushing a variety of allegations against businesses in which McCaskill's husband is involved.
Akin has caused other trouble for himself, though.
He was forced to amend 10 years of financial disclosures after inexplicably failing to report a pension income he earned as a state employee. He previously filed an amendment to his disclosure forms because he had neglected to list at least $355,000 in property.
Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.