A Research 2000 poll, conducted for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV in St. Louis, gives Democrat challenger Claire McCaskill a slight edge over Republican incumbent Senator Jim Talent if the election were held today. The survey, conducted among 800 likely voters last week, indicates 49 percent of those surveyed expressed support for McCaskill, while 43 percent favored Talent. 8 percent were undecided.

The same poll asked respondents about the current Republican race for State Auditor and the 2008 Governor’s contest. According to the survey of 500 primary voters, the 5-way GOP race for Auditor is neck and neck between State Representative Jack Jackson of Wildwood, who has 19 percent, and State Senator John Loudon of Chesterfield who has 17 percent backing. Platte County Auditor Sandra Thomas has 10 percent support, State Representative Mark Wright of Springfield has 8 percent, and 2002 GOP candidate Al Hanson of Concordia has 7 percent. 39 percent of those polled say they are undecided.

In the 2008 Governor’s race, 50 percent of those polled favor Democrat Attorney General Jay Nixon, compared to 40 percent who back incumbent Republican Governor Matt Blunt. 10 percent are undecided.

The poll also covered ballot issues Missourians could vote on in November. 62 percent of those surveyed favor passage of the stem cell research initiative which would make legal, in Missouri, any kind of stem cell research allowed under federal law. 35 percent oppose the idea, while 3 percent are not sure. Respondents were also asked about an initiative to raise taxes on tobacco products. 62 percent of those surveyed favor the proposal, 30 percent oppose it, while 8 percent are undecided.