Missouri Senate candidate Eric Schmitt (R) is leading Democratic challenger Trudy Busch Valentine by 11 percentage points, according to a new Emerson College Polling-The Hill survey released Friday.
The poll of likely Missouri voters showed 49 percent of respondents saying they would support Schmitt if the Senate election were held today compared to Busch Valentine with 38 percent.
A separate 10 percent said they were undecided, while 3 percent said they would vote for someone else.
When respondents, however, were asked whom they expected to win regardless of whom they supported, 67 percent of respondents believed the state attorney general would prevail in the Senate race over 34 percent who said the same for Busch Valentine.
The poll also noted that most respondents - 53 percent - viewed Schmitt favorably compared to 37 percent who viewed him unfavorably. Comparatively, 41 percent viewed Busch Valentine favorably compared to 35 percent who said the opposite. Twenty-four percent said they were either unsure or had never heard of her, suggesting that she's still relatively unknown more than five weeks out from Election Day.
"A plurality of voters under 50 support Valentine for Senate; however, a majority of voters over 50 support Schmitt. Not only is he winning a higher share of these older voters, but they make up over 60% of the estimated electorate," said Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling.
Kimball suggested that Schmitt, who currently serves as Missouri's attorney general, held an advantage over respondents who noted the economy as their driving issue compared to Busch Valentine, who held an edge over those concerned about threats to democracy.
"Schmitt's support is driven by voters who say the economy is the top issue; these voters break for Schmitt 71% to 18%. By contrast, those who say threats to democracy is their top issue break for Busch Valentine 68% to 22%, and those who said abortion access break for Busch Valentine 79% to 5%," he noted.
The race for the Senate GOP nomination in Missouri was among the most divisive of the primary season, as Schmitt faced off against former Gov. Eric Greitens and Rep. Vicky Hartzler, among others. Greitens, who was favored in many polls leading up to the Aug. 2 primary, garnered negative headlines over allegations he had abused his wife and children, leading Republicans to stage a frantic intervention to boost Schmitt.
Former President Trump, long seen as favoring Greitens, weighed in at the last minute by endorsing "Eric" - though he didn't specify whether he meant Schmitt or Greitens.
The Emerson College Polling-The Hill survey was conducted Sept. 23-Sept. 27 with a sample of 1,160 very likely voters in the state. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
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