Missouri Governor Jay Nixon continues to post solid approval numbers and more importantly has a higher degree of crossover support than most Governors in the country. That has him in a strong position halfway through his first term to win a second one.
Nixon's approval rating is 44% with 30% of voters disapproving of him and an unusually high 26% having no opinion. What's interesting about his numbers is that he's actually weaker with Democratic voters than most Democratic Governors around the country are- only 54% approve of him with 26% disapproving. His numbers with independents and Republicans more than make up for that tepid support from his base though. With indys his approval is a positive 43/23 spread, very strong numbers in a time when many of those voters have turned away from the Democratic Party. And most impressively Nixon comes close to breaking even with Republicans, with 34% approving and 37% disapproving of him. That's very rare for any politician in this highly polarized political climate.
In a hypothetical contest Nixon leads Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder 47-39. Even if Democrats have mixed feelings about Nixon's job performance they don't have any hesitation about voting for him, as he leads Kinder 85-4 within his party. Nixon also leads 43-33 with independents. Despite his 34% approval with Republicans Nixon only gets 15% support from them, not a ton of crossover support but more than most Democrats got across the country this year. Nixon leads 46-35 when matched up with Sarah Steelman but that contest obviously won't be happening now that she's announced a Senate bid.
There are a couple ways you can look at the Nixon numbers. His initial lead over Kinder, his support from independents, and his unusual level of popularity with Republicans are all good news. At the same time he's not anywhere close to matching the 20 point margin of victory he attained against Kenny Hulshof in 2008. His 10 point lead with independents is good...but nothing compared to the 31 point advantage our last poll showed in 2008. Given the year Democrats in Missouri just had though Nixon's in a pretty good position.
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