Poll Suggests Robin Carnahan is Closing the Gap vs. Roy Blunt; Is Fox News to Thank?

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Carnahan never looks a Fox News gift horse in the mouth.
First a caveat, the following poll was conducted at the behest of the Missouri Democratic Party. Assuming, then, that their pollsters got it right, Democratic candidate Robin Carnahan is now neck-and-neck with her Republican rival Roy Blunt in the race for U.S. Senate.

The poll last week of 601 Missouri voters found that if the election were held today 37 percent of respondents would vote for Carnahan and 37 percent for Blunt. (That said, more undecided voters said they were leaning toward Blunt over Carnahan.) This latest poll suggests a much tighter race than a similar tally of voters earlier this month that had Blunt with 10 percent voting margin over Carnahan. (Another recent prediction gave Carnahan just a 9 percent chance of winning in November.) 

In a statement today, the Democratic Party suggests that previous polls may have been skewed by television advertising -- with Blunt first airing commercials weeks before Carnahan.

Personally, though, I wonder what impact one of Carnahan's own TV spots may have had as the pollsters conducted their interviews last week. After all, it was just last Thursday that news broke that Fox News was suing Carnahan for running a commercial showing one of its network reporters questioning Roy Blunt about his romance with a tobacco lobbyist and ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Fox News hoped the suit would quash the airing of the ad that reflected poorly on a Republican candidate. Instead, Carnahan continues to air the commercial with the lawsuit bringing new-found attention to the ad and its message. As Carnahan's campaign suggested on its website, it's the ad that Fox News doesn't want viewers to see.

Today I asked Carnahan campaign spokesman Linden Zakula why he thought his candidate was gaining ground in the race and what impact the Fox News lawsuit may have had on last week's poll. Zakula says with the election just 42 days away, more voters are now paying attention to the race and realizing the difference between the candidates. He adds:

"The FOX News ad is just the latest in mounting evidence against Congressman Blunt and his 14-year record of corruption in Washington. The poll shows that there is a clear choice in this election and Missourians are rejecting Congressman Blunt's record of corporate bailouts, corruption, and wasteful earmarks."

The poll results follow...

Robin Carnahan .................................................................37%

Lean Robin Carnahan ..........................................................2%

Roy Blunt ..........................................................................37%

Lean Roy Blunt ................................................................. 6%

Jerry Beck (Libertarian).........................................................3%

Lean Jerry Beck ..................................................................*

(Undecided/Refused)....................................................11%



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