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The main numbers are…

Claire McCaskill 43, Todd Akin 43

Claire McCaskill 43, John Brunner 43

Claire McCaskill 43, Sarah Steelman 43

Claire McCaskill’s job approval? 42% approve, 49% disapprove.

So, how did this come about? Let’s go to the numbers.

I personally prefer to combine the very/somewhat totals for Liberals and Conservatives on PPP polls to create a wider sample. The realities of how PPP splits by ideology has a way of reducing the number of moderates, so there’ll be quite a few Somewhats who are closer to Moderate than the Verys. But here goes.

Claire McCaskill’s job approval

Liberals (31%): 72-18

Moderates (27%): 50-35

Conservatives (42%): 13-80

Claire v. Akin

Liberals: 71-10

Moderates: 57-30

Conservatives: 12-74

Claire v. Brunner

Liberals: 74-13

Moderates: 55-25

Conservatives: 11-75

Claire v. Steelman

Liberals: 72-18

Moderates: 50-35

Conservatives: 13-80

In other words, people who approve of Claire McCaskill seem to support her, and most of the people who don’t approve of Claire McCaskill do not support her. And when over 1/4th of the voters who you should be winning 4/5ths of are not supporting you, then you have a problem where your base does not like you enough and the people you’ve been focusing on pleasing for 5 years don’t like you either.

Or to put it more bluntly, if the election were held today between Claire McCaskill and one of her 3 opponents who has under 50% name-rec, Claire McCaskill would lose. Which is remarkable, considering the gap between her and her opponents, she shouldn’t be polling 43% and she shouldn’t be tied with every single opponent.

Moderates don’t like Claire McCaskill enough (and they tilt to Dems on the PPP samples, including Obama getting 61% job approval with Ohio Moderates). Liberals don’t like Claire McCaskill enough. And Conservatives don’t like her either, because she’s a Democrat, and no amount of posturing will change that.

One of the wonders of a three-way primary is the possibility that the Republicans will do a lot of the work necessary to get Claire McCaskill elected. But you can’t just depend on your opposition nuking each other.