Recent Polling Shows Senate Tie, Support for Ballot Measures in November Election

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The most recent polling shows a tight U.S. Senate race and a support for ballot measures going before Missouri voters in November.

A survey shows there’s truth in the contention Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill’s campaign makes when soliciting email donations – that she and Republican challenger Josh Hawley are tied.

The poll conducted last week by Missouri Scout shows McCaskill and Hawley would both receive 47% of the vote if the Senate election were held today.

The same survey gives Republican challenger Saundra McDowell a five-point advantage over incumbent Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, 47%-to-42%.

Three other questions in the Missouri Scout survey bode well for ballot measures in this falls election.

A majority of respondents, 54%-to-35%, believe the Missouri Constitution should be amended to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes.  Three ballot measures would legalize medical marijuana.

The survey also revealed that an even larger percentage favors raising the minimum wage to $12.00 per hour by 2023, 60%-28%.

And a slightly stronger majority than that, 61%-to-18%, would support amending the state Constitution to change the process for redrawing legislative districts and further restrict campaign contributions and lobbyists gifts.

The poll was conducted last Wednesday and Thursday, just after last Tuesday’s primary election.

Because of the tied Senate race in the Missouri Scout poll, the Real Clear Politics aggregate of surveys conducted since July of 2017 gives Hawley a statistical advantage of 0.2%.

The Real Clear Politics numbers don’t include a poll by Global Strategy Group in June that pegged McCaskill with a six-point lead, the only survey to give either candidate a lead beyond the margin of error.  The Global Strategy poll was conducted on behalf of Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC which is spending heavily in the 2018 election cycle, including in the Missouri Senate race.

McCaskill has taken a stance opposing such outside groups that she thinks will spend between $50 million-$70 million on both sides of the race.

The Missouri Scout survey is the first polling of the contest for State Auditor since McDowell secured the Republican nomination.

Galloway quickly slammed McDowell for having financial problems that she claims are troubling for somebody who would operate a state office charged with monitoring the use of tax dollars.

The St. Louis Post-dispatch reported that McDowell was ordered to pay $32,658 to a Springfield landlord in 2015 after she and her husband, Jonathan, stopped paying rent on a home.  The couple also was ordered to pay the City of Springfield $1,235 for unpaid utility bills.

In addition, the Post-Dispatch reported that in April, Jonathan McDowell was suspended indefinitely by the Missouri Supreme Court over allegations that his failure to file legal documents cost an airline pilot his employment discrimination case.

McDowell responded by calling Galloway’s claims “wildly inappropriate”.  The eight-year Air Force veteran said, “My husband and I did struggle to make ends meet earlier in our careers, like so many Americans did under President Obama’s stagnating economy.”

Although the Missouri Scout survey has Galloway trailing in the election by five-points, it did show her with strong support among moderates and non-partisans as well as liberals and Democrats.

The poll broke down the state into five metro areas – Columbia, Kansas City, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, and St. Louis.

Voters in all of those areas except Cape Girardeau supported amending the state Constitution to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, although the polling in Springfield was closer.  Voters in all five metro areas were strongly in favor of raising the minimum wage and changing the process for determining voting districts.

The minimum wage ballot measure would increase the state minimum pay by 85 cents per hour each year until 2023 when it would top out at $12.00 per hour.

The measure to alter the means of determining voting districts would also downsize limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state legislature can accept from individuals or groups and would limit gifts that state legislators and their employees can accept from lobbyists.

The measure was drawn up by the group Clean Missouri, which bills itself as a bipartisan organization.

It has the support of a GOP coalition which includes former U.S. Senator John Danforth as well as state Senator Rob Schaaf on St. Joseph.

The effort also has received financial backing from left-leaning groups, including Billionaire George Soros.  Soros’ Washington based lobbying firm donated $300,000 to a St. Louis based political committee in January.  That committee, MOVE Ballot Fund, then donated $250,000 to Clean Missouri three days later.  The move was criticized by Republican operatives at the time.

The Clean Missouri ballot measure is being opposed by a group is chaired by former Republican U.S. Senator Jim Talent who is being advised by Republican members of both Missouri houses.  They include Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard of Joplin and well as Senators’ Bob Onder of Lake St. Louis and Caleb Rowden of Columbia.

The Missouri Scout poll included 1,785 likely 2018 General Election voters and has a margin of Error is +/-2.3%.

(Jason Taylor, Missourinet)

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