There would be no clear favorite to start out if the principal Republican candidates for Senate in Missouri end up being Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman. Akin polls at 29% right now with Steelman at 28%, Ed Martin at 9%, and John Brunner at 6%.
Akin is stronger with center and center right Republican voters. With moderates he leads Steelman 26-23 and with voters describing themselves as 'somewhat conservative' he has a 33-25 advantage. The largest segment of the GOP electorate though is those describing themselves as 'very conservative,' and Steelman earns the overall tie by holding a 32-28 advantage with that group.
28% of voters are still undecided and that's a reflection of the anonymity of the field. None of the candidates has 50% name recognition even with this unusually engaged segment of the Republican electorate- 48% have an opinion about Steelman, 37% about Akin, 25% about Martin, and 18% about Brunner.
We also looked at a primary scenario including Blaine Luetkemeyer, although it seems unlikely that both he and Akin would end up running. In that permutation the two seem to end up splitting the voters of people willing to vote for a member of Congress, leaving Steelman with the lead at 27% to 23% for Akin, 18% for Luetkemeyer, 6% for Martin, and 4% for Brunner.
Mike Huckabee continues to be the overwhelming favorite of Republicans in the state for their Presidential nominee. 28% say he would be their first choice to 13% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Donald Trump, 10% for Newt Gingrich, 9% for Michele Bachmann, 8% for Sarah Palin, 6% for Ron Paul, and 5% for Tim Pawlenty.
These numbers are particularly problematic for a few of the candidates. Trump's favorability is 39/44 with GOP primary voters, suggesting that his very brief foray as the shining star of the Republican field may already be over. Hard to win a party's nomination when most of its voters don't like you. These numbers are also pretty bad for Palin. It's the first time she's polled behind Bachmann and her numbers in Missouri have been on a downward trajectory in the state from 25% when we polled in November to 14% when we polled in March to now this 8% standing. It used to be a given that Palin had a lot of support and the question was just whether she would run. Now the bigger question is, if she does run, does she still have any support? And the answer to that more and more is looking like no.
Our national poll for Daily Kos earlier this week suggested that the share of Republicans falling into the birther camp had fallen to about a third of the party's voters, rather than the half of its voters we were finding in polling earlier this year. Missouri backs that up- 45% of GOP primary voters think Barack Obama was born in the United States while 38% still think he was not. Here's an amazing fact on the Presidential preference question in the state: with the voters who think Obama was born in the US Romney actually leads Huckabee 21-20. With the birthers who don't think Obama was born in the US, Huckabee leads Romney 37-6, giving him his solid overall lead.
One final note on Missouri- there hasn't been any indication that any name Republicans are going to take on Peter Kinder in the primary for Governor but just for the heck of it we asked GOP voters who their first choice would be between Kinder, former Governor Matt Blunt, and former Congressman Kenny Hulshof. 36% pick Blunt to 23% for Kinder and 22% for Hulshof.
Full results here