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Hotline: Senate Race "Is Closer Than Ever"

The Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy writes about last weeks' polls in the Missouri Senate race for The Hotline today:

Democrats released a poll last week that indicates that this race is closer than ever. A Garin-Hart-Yang Research poll (D) of 701 likely voters conducted Sept. 20-22 showed GOP Rep. Roy Blunt at 41%, followed by Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan at 40%, Constitution Party candidate Jerry Beck at 3%, and Libertarian candidate Jonathan Dine at 2%.

Presumably the 5% of the vote going to the Constitution and Libertarian nominees would otherwise go to Blunt. But, can Beck and Dine expect these percentages on Election Day? Recent history says no. In the '04 Senate and gubernatorial races, the Libertarian and Constitution candidates combined for 1.1% and 1.3%, respectively. In the '06 Senate contest, the Libertarian candidate took 2.2%, and in the '08 governor's race, the Libertarian and Constitution nominees combined for 2.1%. In other words, the odds are better than not that Beck and Dine won't get a total of more than 3%, which means that Blunt may be a bit further ahead than these polls suggest. More worrisome for Democrats is that Carnahan hasn't been ahead in any survey since early January.



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