Todd Akin’s campaign advised Democrats on Thursday that their best hope of beating him would be to demand Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) step down as a candidate.
His comments came after pollster Rasmussen released a survey showing him trailing McCaskill 48 percent to 38 percent in Missouri’s Senate race, a stunning implosion, if accurate, given that he led all polls before his “legitimate rape” remarks led GOP leaders to disown his campaign. Akin’s campaign, however, believes the poll is encouraging news.
“The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48 percent after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is,” Perry Akin, the congressman’s campaign manager and son, said in a statement Thursday. “If she can’t break 50 percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down. Todd is in this race to win; we will close this gap and win in November with the support of the grassroots in Missouri and across America.”
McCaskill, whose seat would be on much, much shakier ground if Akin were to drop out now, dismissed the Rasmussen poll’s significance and even implied the pollster was deliberately inflating her numbers to pressure Akin.
“Rasmussen poll made me laugh out loud,” she said on Twitter. “If anyone believes that, I just turned 29. Sneaky stuff.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.