September 5, 2018
9/5: Gender and Education Key to Missouri Midterms… Republicans with Slight Edge on Generic Ballot Question… McCaskill Faces Tough Reelection Fight
Nearly seven in ten (69%) registered voters in Missouri, including 79% of Democrats and 70% of Republicans, are energized about this year’s midterm elections. The plurality of voters say their midterm election vote will send a message that more Democrats are needed to be a check and balance on the presidential power of President Donald Trump, but the plurality also prefer a Congress controlled by the Republicans. On the generic ballot question voters divide.
“In a state that President Trump won by about 18 points, voters are sending a mixed message for the midterm elections,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Voters want more Democrats elected to Congress to offset the president’s power, but not so many as to change which party is in control. Democratic voters are more enthusiastic about the approaching fall elections than are Republicans, but the Democratic advantage evaporates on the generic ballot question.”
47% of the Missouri electorate say their midterm election vote will signal that more Democrats are needed to be a check and balance on the authority of President Trump. 39% report their vote will send a message that more Republicans are needed to help pass President Trump’s agenda.
A 28-point gender gap exists. A majority of women (54%) say their vote will indicate more Democrats are needed to balance Trump’s presidential power. The plurality of men (47%) think more Republicans are needed to push through the Trump agenda. Of note, a plurality of white voters with a college degree (46%), including 52% of white women with a college degree, report more Democrats are needed to serve as a check on President Trump.
White voters without a college degree divide. 44%, including 57% of white men without a college degree, think more Republicans are required to advance the White House’s agenda. 42% of white voters without a college degree, including 48% of white women without a college degree, think more Democrats are needed to balance the executive branch.
45% of Missouri registered voters prefer a Congress controlled by Republicans while 40% prefer a legislative branch controlled by the Democrats. Again a significant gender gap (27 points) exists. A majority of men (53%) would like the Republicans to remain in control of Congress. A plurality of women (45%) want the Democrats in control.
Regardless of whether or not voters have a college degree, a majority of white men favor Republican control of Congress. Among white women, education plays a role. 48% of white women with a college degree want the Democrats in power. The plurality of white women without a college degree (44%) want the Republicans at the helm.
On the generic ballot question, 43% of registered voters in Missouri say they are more likely to support the Republican candidate in their district. 41% are more likely to favor the Democrat. Among independents, the plurality (37%) support the Republican. 30% favor the Democrat, and one in four (25%) are undecided.
A 30-point gender gap exists on the generic ballot question. The majority of men (52%) support the Republican candidate while the plurality of women (47%) back the Democrat. Majorities of white men with a college degree (53%) and without a degree (60%) support the Republican on the ballot. Among white women, opinions differ along education lines. 51% of white women with a college degree support the Democrat. Less consensus exists among white women without a college degree. 39% favor the Democrat in their district, 39% support the Republican, and a notable 18% are undecided.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill (44%) is in a competitive race with her Republican challenger Josh Hawley (40%) among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate. The Libertarian candidate Japheth Campbell receives 5% while Green Party candidate Jo Crain receives 3%. Eight percent are undecided.
Among likely voters with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate, 54% strongly support their choice of candidate. 68% of McCaskill’s supporters say they strongly support her while 46% of Hawley’s backers express the same level of commitment to him.
In a two-way contest for U.S. Senate, McCaskill (47%) and Hawley (47%) are tied among likely voters. Five percent are undecided.
“Missouri is a must win for Democrats and an opportunity for Republicans to seal the deal to keep their majority in the Senate,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Democrats can’t go two seats forward elsewhere only to go one seat back in Missouri.”
McCaskill’s favorable score is upside down (37% favorable to 48% unfavorable) among Missouri residents. 15% have either never heard of McCaskill or are unsure how to rate her.
Hawley is not well defined among Missouri adults. 32% have a favorable impression of Hawley, 32% have an unfavorable one, and 36% have either never heard of Hawley or are unsure how to rate him.
“This race is yet to be defined,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “McCaskill is not well liked but more of her supporters are strongly committed to her than Hawley’s backers are to him. Hawley is less well known and the determining factor in this race is what happens when Hawley becomes better known.”
25% of registered voters say health care is the most important factor in deciding their vote for Congress. A similar 23% mention jobs and the economy followed by immigration with 10%. Health care is the top issue for Democrats (41%). The economy and jobs is the most important issue for Republicans (23%) and independents (29%).
Among those with a first choice, the economy and jobs (22%) is the second most important issue factoring into their vote. Health care (17%), federal taxes and spending (17%), guns (14%), immigration (12%), foreign policy and terrorism (10%), and abortion (7%) follow.
The plurality of Missouri adults (41%) think raising tariffs and barriers to imports from other countries will raise the costs of consumer goods and hurt the U.S. economy. 29% say it will protect American jobs and help the U.S. economy. 16% do not think it will have much impact on the U.S. economy.
Missouri residents divide about President Trump’s job performance. 44% approve, including 25% of those who strongly do so. 45% disapprove, including 36% who strongly disapprove. President Trump’s favorable score is upside down (42% favorable to 50% unfavorable) among Missouri adults.