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« NH 02: Hodes (D) +4 | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Couging It »

MO: Nixon (D) +7

In one of Democrats' prime pickup opportunities, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has sported big leads all year in his race for the Show Me State's governor's mansion. A new independent poll shows Nixon still leading, but by a far slimmer margin than we've seen this year.

The poll, conducted by Research 2000 for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV, surveyed 800 likely voters between 9/15-18 for a margin of error of +/- 3.5%. Nixon and Rep. Kenny Hulshof were tested.

General Election Matchup
(All / Dem / GOP / Ind / Men / Wom)
Nixon.....50 / 86 / 11 / 52 / 45 / 55 (-2 from last, 7/10)
Hulshof...43 / 7 / 83 / 40 / 48 / 38 (+8)

Nixon's lead comes from his advantages in the urban and suburban parts of the state. He's ahead of Hulshof by a 71%-21% margin in St. Louis and a 55%-39% margin in more conservative Kansas City. He also leads in the St. Louis suburbs, a crucial area for a Democrat running statewide in Missouri, by a 54%-40% margin.

Hulshof wins the more rural parts of the state by about ten points, according to regional breakdowns.

Nixon remains ahead by an amount outside the margin of error, but Hulshof has significantly closed the gap. Before Hulshof beat State Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the state's August 5 primary, Nixon was leading a hypothetical general election matchup by a seventeen-point margin.

If the race becomes close, Nixon may be able to fall back on an increased turnout among African American voters flocking to the polls to cast ballots for Barack Obama. The survey shows black voters backing Nixon by a huge 82%-5% margin, while Hulshof has a 51%-44% lead among white voters.