Rep. Todd Akin has released two harsh ads attacking Senator Claire McCaskill, as new polling shows that the Missouri senate race remains close despite Akin’s much-derided remarks on “legitimate rape.”
Public Policy Polling released a new poll this afternoon showing that, despite the tidal wave of negative press that had most Republicans calling on Akin to suspend his campaign, the race is still a toss-up. McCaskill leads Akin by a 45 to 44 percent margin, essentially unchanged from Akin’s 44 to 43 percent lead last week.
The poll found that 53 percent of voters accept Akin’s apology for his “legitimate rape” comments, compared to 40 percent who do not. 54 percent of voters — including 57 percent of independents, 53 percent of Democrats, and 52 percent of Republicans — think that Akin should continue to run. Only 37 percent now say that he should withdraw from the race.
While Akin’s favorability numbers are still very weak, with 56 percent viewing him negatively and just 33 percent viewing him favorably, those ratings have already rebounded somewhat from his 24 to 58 percent favorable/unfavorable split in last week’s poll. Furthermore, Missouri voters aren’t very fond of McCaskill either; 55 percent disapprove of the job she’s doing, compared to only 40 percent who approve.
The PPP poll is the second recent survey to find that Akin has not fallen out of the race; yesterday a poll commissioned by the conservative Family Research Council showed had Akin leading McCaskill within the margin of error, 45 to 42 percent.
In his continued attempt to battle back from controversy, Akin released two new ads this week confronting his absurd comments — and ripping his opponent.
In the first ad, titled “Six Seconds,” Akin says directly into the camera “My six-second mistake is well known, but Claire McCaskill’s six-year record is something you should know.”
The second web ad, “The Case Against Claire,” is a classic political attack ad that tries to tie McCaskill to President Barack Obama. Above ominous music, a narrator gravely warns viewers that McCaskill was “the deciding vote in favor of Obamacare,” among many other charges.
Despite the favorable polls and the punchy attack ads, Akin is still fighting an uphill battle to knock off McCaskill. The National Republican Senatorial Committee provided a stark reminder of that fact on Tuesday, when it pulled the remaining $2.8 million worth of airtime it had reserved for the Missouri Senate race. If Akin is going win a seat in the Senate, it appears that he really will have to do it on his own.