Recent polling shows the Missouri U.S. Senate race couldn’t be any tighter.
An Emerson University survey out Wednesday has Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander tied at 45 percent.
An average of polls by the analytical firm Real Clear Politics gives Blunt a razor thin lead of 0.6 percent, while polling research site FiveThirtyEight gives Kander a 56 percent chance of winning.
Rich Chrismer with the Missouri Republican Party points to another poll showing Blunt up by three, but admits the race is extremely close. “Ultimately the only poll that matters is the one on November 8th” said Chrismer. “We believe the polls show Roy Blunt with the momentum as the only candidate who can effectively change Washington.”
The same poll showing both candidates tied also has Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s lead in Missouri expanding from eight to fifteen points.
While many pundits think the spike is a result of Hillary Clinton’s renewed email problems, Will Baskin-Gerwitz with the state Democratic Party doesn’t think Kander will suffer as a result. “This is something that was taken, sort of, right after the email scandal hit” said Baskin-Gerwitz. “This is something that, I think, was a little overblown but people are going to come back on. I think there’s nowhere to go but up. And I think if Jason if is outrunning the top of the ticket by 15 points, I think things are looking pretty good for him next Tuesday.”
Baskin-Gerwitz further thinks Trump’s expanding lead could actually work in Kander’s favor. “It’s very obvious that there’s a Trump-Kander voter, which is something that we’ve been talking about since the beginning of the election. Jason’s message has been an outsider message. (It) has been ‘We need to change Washington. We’re not going to change Washington until we change the people who we send there.’”
Conversely, Chrismer with the state Republicans thinks Trump’s surge should only help Blunt. “There is a lot of momentum for Roy Blunt, and I think the entire Republican ticket in Missouri. Nobody works harder for the people of Missouri than Roy Blunt. We’re confident that voters want real change in Washington, and not another liberal rubber stamp like Jason Kander.”
While Kander is attempting to run as an outsider, Republicans are trying to link him to Hillary Clinton. And while Blunt has tried to position himself as a change agent from the Obama administration, Democrats point to his 20 year history in Washington.
Further current polling data from FiveThirtyEight shows Kander with a projected vote share of 49.2 percent versus 48.4 percent for Blunt, a slender margin of 0.8 percent. It takes into account the recent BK Strategies survey which shows Blunt leading by 3 percent. The Real Clear Politics average which has Blunt with slim lead does not include the BK Strategies poll.
Both candidates have been heavily financed in this year’s campaign. Kander’s received almost $11 million with the largest share – $1,382,608.00 – coming from Lawyers/law firms. As of Wednesday evening, Kander had $2,122,884.00 on hand. Blunt has received nearly $15 million, with $2,221,258.00 coming from the Finance/Insurance/Real Estate sector. Blunt also has over $2 million on hand.