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Akin Lives

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For now anyway.

A flash poll in Missouri showed that despite Todd Akin’s insane statements about rape, he still leads Claire McCaskill 45-44, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic pollster. That’s aligns with similar numbers from May. It could be that people haven’t changed their minds about him yet and the news hasn’t truly sunk in. Or it could mean the Missouri Republicans would vote for literally anyone other than McCaskill. And in this case, it would be literally anyone since it’s hard to think of someone worse.

I also agree with David Nir that Akin holds more cards than one might think:

I don’t claim any ability to predict the future, but the fact is, Akin’s 65 years old, he had to give up his seat in the House to run for Senate, and won a pretty serious primary upset. This is the capstone of his career, and there really isn’t any inducement anyone can offer him to step aside—hence the threats. He may still prefer to quit, in the end, but I seriously doubt that national Republicans would write off this race entirely if he refuses to step aside.

If he can legitimately keep this a close race, I too have a hard time seeing Republican money not flowing to him by October, particularly given the importance of this race for control of the Senate. Of course, that’s a disaster for Republicans because that would keep the issue in the news, a particularly salient point given his relationship with Paul Ryan in trying to end reproductive rights.

Speaking of Senate control, it has seemed to me for some time that this was the most dire competitive race for Democrats. Not only do I think Elizabeth Warren is going to win in Massachusetts, but the North Dakota and Nevada races are looking up, as is Virginia. The Montana race looks tough too, but I would have bet on Tester before McCaskill. Not anymore. But it’s hardly over because Akin is not the anathema to voters you’d think. Because in the end, saying horrible things about rape is probably not so distant from the views a lot of Missouri conservatives hold.

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