GOP challenger touts poll saying Hawley isn't best candidate to beat McCaskill
Written by Will Schmitt |
One of Sen. Claire McCaskill's Republican challengers is touting polling that indicates he may be a better opponent against the Democratic incumbent than the GOP front-runner, Attorney General Josh Hawley.
The polling looks bad for McCaskill either way, showing both Hawley and Austin Petersen with stronger showings than the Democrat in a survey of 822 likely Missouri voters conducted via interactive voice response technology May 16 by Gravis Marketing.
What heartens Petersen, who ran for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination in 2016, is that his numbers were slightly better than Hawley's.
Gravis asked voters how they would vote if the November Senate election came down to either McCaskill and Hawley or McCaskill and Petersen.
In the first match-up, Hawley was picked by 50 percent of respondents and McCaskill was chosen by 43 percent. In the second, 56 percent of respondents chose Petersen, and 40 percent picked McCaskill. The margin of error for the survey was 3.4 percentage points.
Petersen, who bills himself as a "pro-life, pro-liberty, pro-Constitution candidate," performed markedly better than Hawley among younger voters (ages 18 to 29) when pitted against McCaskill, according to the poll.
"Both (Hawley and McCaskill) have shown themselves to be ladder-climbing career politicians who prioritize professional gain over honest representation of the electorate," Petersen said in a statement upon releasing the poll. "After nearly a year of hearing Missourians express their frustration with the insider politics in Jefferson City and Washington on the campaign trail, I can't say I'm surprised by these results."
McCaskill performed better than both Republicans in the 55 to 64 demographic, and results among likely voters 65 and up were a push.
Survey respondents identified themselves at 38 percent Republican, 36 percent Democrat and 26 percent independent.
Hawley has had a fundraising advantage over Petersen. McCaskill has raised much more money than anybody else in the race.
Gravis has a B-minus rating as a polling agency and slightly favors Republicans, according to FiveThirtyEight's aggregation and rating of polls. Petersen's campaign said this is the first poll it conducted and that it paid $2,000 to Gravis.