Missouri Races Close

By John Celock

Missouri is living up to its reputation as a swing state with a new poll showing tight races for governor and U.S. Senate in the Show Me State.

A Monmouth University Poll released Wednesday shows that Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Koster, the state attorney general, narrowly leads Republican nominee Eric Greitens 46 percent to 43 percent. In the Senate race Republican Sen. Roy Blunt leads Democratic challenger Jason Kander, the secretary of state, 46 percent to 44 percent.

The poll shows both races narrowing, with Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, closing an 11-point gap since August and Blunt’s August lead of five points diminishing. The Senate race has been close since Kander entered the race last year, with Blunt never extending his lead in to double digits.

The poll shows that Koster has the backing of 88 percent of Democrats while Greitens has the backing of 80 percent of Republicans. Koster’s strong support among Republicans does not come as a surprise as the two-term attorney general is a former Republican and has maintained centrist views during his tenure. Greitens, a political newcomer, defeated several opponents in a competitive GOP primary. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) is term-limited.

The Senate contest in Missouri has been competitive all year with Kander gaining steam in recent weeks. Blunt, a former congressman and secretary of state, has struggled to gain traction over Kander, a 35-year-old Army veteran. Kander has hit Blunt on his family’s extensive involvement in politics, while Blunt has criticized Kander’s views on gun issues. Blunt’s son, Matt, is a former Missouri governor, while other of Blunt’s children are Washington lobbyists.

The poll showed that Blunt had a 32 percent favorable rating and a 33 percent unfavorable rating. Kander’s favorable rating in the poll was 33 percent with a 14 percent unfavorable rating.