Jay Nixon continues to look like a solid favorite for reelection as Governor of Missouri, and his lead over his most likely opponent has expanded over the course of the last two months.
Nixon has good approval numbers, with 48% of voters giving him positive reviews to 29% who say they disapprove of his work. Nixon's numbers continue to be a little bit unusual in that he's weaker than you might expect with Democrats, with only a 61% rating where you would more often see a Governor in the 70-80% range with their own party's voters. But he makes up for that by having an unusual level of appeal to Republicans, nearly breaking even with them at 36% who approve to 38% who disapprove. He's also in good standing with independents at 46/29.
Nixon leads his most likely opponent for next year, Peter Kinder, 48-34 in a hypothetical contest. That's up from 45-38 on PPP's last poll of the race. Even though the Democratic base is not in love with Nixon they'll still vote for him over Kinder by an 85-5 margin. Nixon also picks up 13% of the Republican vote and leads Kinder by a 46-27 spread with independents.
Kinder hasn't had the best couple of months publicity wise but his favorability numbers are relatively unaffected- 24% of voters in the state have a positive opinion of him to 26% with a negative one. That -2 favorability spread only represents a 3 point movement in the wrong direction since March when it was +1 at 25/24. Still that 3 point decline in Kinder's numbers, combined with a 3 point increase in Nixon's net approval, appears to have been enough to double Nixon's lead over Kinder.
Because Kinder has had such a bad couple of months we also looked at a couple alternative Republicans against Nixon. Former Governor Matt Blunt left office unpopular but his dad won a resounding election to the Senate next year so we were curious to see how he would do. Blunt remains unpopular with a 33/43 favorability rating but he does match up better with Nixon than Kinder does, trailing only 43-33. We also tested the 2008 Republican nominee, Kenny Hulshof. He trails Nixon 51-34, a deficit slightly closer than the margin he lost by in 2008 but certainly not within the realm of competitiveness.
Nixon's numbers aren't so good that they'll drive off any serious competition, but it continues to look like he'll be very difficult to knock off next year.
Full results here