Claire McCaskill Wants To Run Against Todd Akin

Claire McCaskill has been running ads that single out Todd Akin by name:

television ad shows U.S. Rep. Todd Akin sitting in front of an American flag, talking with constituents and generally looking serious, as a narrator declares him “Missouri’s true conservative.”

Akin is “the most conservative congressman in Missouri,” says the recent spot. He’s “a crusader against bigger government” and has a “pro-family agenda.”

The commercial sounds as if it came from the Akin campaign. But it didn’t. And it isn’t from any of his conservative supporters, either.

In fact, it was paid for by Sen. Claire McCaskill — the incumbent Democrat and the ultimate opponent of whoever wins the Republican primary.

Apparently, that’s giving Akin some traction in the polls:

A new poll shows U.S. Rep. Todd Akin surging in the final days of Missouri’s three-way U.S. Senate Republican primary.

North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling shows businessman John Brunner still in the lead with 35 percent, Akin at 30 percent, and former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman at 25 percent. About ten percent said they were either undecided or would choose someone else.

This last story also points out results from a different poll:

The Post-Dispatch poll suggested that Akin would offer the least threat to Democrat Claire McCaskill in a one-on-one contest.

Why would McCaskill mention Akin by name? Why would she prefer to run against him?

Akin is not an outsider to Washington. As a long-term Congressman, he cannot attack her for being an insider siding with Obama and voting for unpopular party agenda items as he’s done the same thing. Also, Akin is such a creature of Washington that he’s had problems keeping his residence in Missouri straight.

I know McCaskill’s ads are having an actual effect instead of just a effect on the polls. I’ve spoken with a voter who’s thinking seriously about Akin based on McCaskill’s ads.

I looked through the raw polling data (PDF), and I didn’t see a breakdown of regions for the respondents. I wonder if the poll skews urban (read: St. Louis and Kansas City) and whether that particular fact significantly impacts the numbers. Brunner is a St. Louis-based businessman and Akin is a St. Louis area legislator. If they’re calling only the 314 area code, that might impact the numbers. I dunno.

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