Republican Josh Hawley led incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill by 7 points in the closely watched Missouri Senate race, according to a fresh poll conducted for the challenger’s campaign.
Hawley, the Missouri attorney general, topped McCaskill, the state’s two-term senator, 49 percent to 42 percent, with 5 percent undecided and a collection of third party candidates garnering 4 percent combined.
The Hawley campaign credits the explosive confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh with helping the Republican nominee establish what it believes is a durable lead heading into the final weeks of the midterm election campaign.
“This lead has held firm since the vote to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Hawley pollsters Wes Anderson and Kyle McGehrin said in a memorandum detailing the survey.
The Oct. 16–18 poll of 800 likely voters was obtained by the Washington Examiner on Tuesday. The margin of error was 3.46 percentage points.
Democrats are still hopeful that favorable political headwinds and McCaskill’s fundraising advantage can help pull her through. She trails Hawley in the RealClearPolitics.com average by a statistically insignificant 0.2 points.
But the Hawley campaign believes that the combination of President Trump’s high job approval rating in Missouri, and McCaskill’s low personal approval rating, as shown in this latest poll, is too big a hill to climb for the Democrat.
In the survey, Trump enjoyed a 54 percent job approval rating across Missouri; his numbers were the same with self-described independent voters. To demonstrate Hawley’s strength, Anderson and McGehrin said that they adjusted the poll results to account for a Democratic surge — and still found their candidate in command.
“The Democrats are trying hard to change the electorate this year by persuading younger, low-propensity, Democrat-leaning adults to register and participate in this election. To test this, we weighted our latest survey by party and age to artificially reflect Democratic aspirations,” the polling memo read. “To date, we find absolutely no evidence that they are succeeding on the ground. But even if we assume that they eventually find some success changing electoral composition, our survey makes it clear Josh Hawley would still be in strong position to upset the incumbent.”