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
Claire v. Brunner
Claire v. Steelman
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.