Missouri: The true-blue red state

Editor’s note: This is a preview of an article that appears in the November issue of Gateway Journalism Review.

Goodbye, purple. So long, pink. Hello, red.

If anyone needed more evidence that Missouri no longer is a bellwether state, the aftermath of Congressman Todd Akin’s Aug. 19 remarks about “legitimate rape” and female bodies’ defenses against impregnation should end the discussion. Even when the media frenzy about his comments peaked a few days later, an Aug. 22 Rasmussen poll indicated 38 percent still supported his U.S. Senate candidacy.

In stock market terms, that is testing a bottom. It is the worst-case scenario for what happens when a statewide candidate for national office goes off the rails. For a Republican in Missouri, the Akin incident showed that number is almost 40 percent – still close enough to have a chance for a majority vote come November. Putting it more bluntly (and phrased more generically), a candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri can make a public statement that is way out of the mainstream – so far so that it instantly is condemned by most Republican leaders both within and outside the state – and still remain competitive. Seven weeks out from the election, the Intrade election market price for an Akin victory share that would return $100 if he wins had a $39.70 quote.

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