Poll Suggests Greitens May Be Dragging Down GOP In Tight Missouri Senate Race

ST CHARLES, MO - NOVEMBER 29: Missouri Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley (L-R), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens listen to U.S. President Donald Trump during a r... ST CHARLES, MO - NOVEMBER 29: Missouri Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley (L-R), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens listen to U.S. President Donald Trump during a rally at the St. Charles Convention Center on November 29, 2017 in St. Charles, Missouri. Trump promoted the GOP tax reform plan during the speech. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 30, 2018 12:52 p.m.

A new poll out Monday offers more evidence that the scandals plaguing Gov. Eric Greitens may be dragging down Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley in his neck-and-neck U.S. Senate race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Fifty-four percent of Missouri voters want Greitens out of office, according to an Emerson College survey. His approval rating has fallen to just 33 percent, compared to 46 percent who disapprove of his job performance.

Greitens has been indicted for allegedly using a non-consensual nude photo to blackmail a woman with whom he had an affair, as well for alleged campaign finance violations. He has rejected calls from the state’s top Republicans to step down, and said he’ll be vindicated at trial.

McCaskill and Hawley, who is well ahead in the GOP primary and widely expected to become the nominee, are tied with 45 percent of the vote each. Eleven percent of voters are undecided.

These numbers align with an internal poll released by Hawley’s campaign Monday, which showed the Republican politician edging out McCaskill 47 to 46 percent, with 7 percent undecided.

A look at the polling trend-line in the race suggests Greitens is doing his party no favors. According to Real Clear Politics, in the four public polls taken before news of the blackmail claims broke in late January, all conducted by a GOP pollster, Hawley led the race by an average of 4.5 points. Hawley hasn’t led in any of the four public polls taken since January.

Though Hawley has worked hard to distance himself from the governor, Greitens’ shadow looms over the race. McCaskill’s team has painted Hawley as an opportunist who aligned himself with Greitens until the political winds shifted following his February indictment on a felony invasion of privacy charge.

Greitens has not taken these developments well, attacking Hawley’s credibility and even trying to take out a restraining order against him. A judge on Friday rejected Greitens’ request, saying Hawley’s calls for the governor to step down do not disqualify him from investigating the alleged campaign finance violations.

The Emerson poll was conducted from April 26-29 among 600 likely registered Missouri voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percent.

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