Sen. Claire McCaskill is casting doubt on the validity of a new poll showing her with a big lead in her Senate race against Rep. Todd Akin. But the pollster in question tells Lean Forward the result is legit.
A Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday found McCaskill, a Democrat leading the Republican Akin by 48 to 38 in the U.S. Senate race from Missouri. Polls taken before Akin's controversial comments Sunday about "legitimate rape" showed him holding a slight lead in the race.
In a tweet, McCaskill appeared to suggest that Rasmussen Reports, whose founder Scott Rasmussen has in the past appeared at several local GOP events, had deliberately engineered a good result for her, in order to up the pressure on Akin to drop out of the race. Republican leaders have been calling on him to quit in the wake of his comments Sunday.
“Rasmussen poll made me laugh out loud,” she tweeted. “If anyone believes that, I just turned 29. Sneaky stuff.”
In response, Rasmussen spokeswoman Beth Chunn confirmed there was no funny business.
"This was a standard poll using our standard methodology," Chunn said in a statement to Lean Forward. "The only thing that changed is that Republicans and unaffiliated voters are now less inclined to support Congressman Akin. That’s hardly a surprising result."
We understand that campaigns and candidates have things they need to say. Early in the 2010 cycle, we produced a poll showing then Republican Senator Arlen Specter down 19 in a Republican primary. He said the poll was ridiculous and then a few weeks later became a Democrat. Every election cycle has moments like that and we are sure there will be more in 2012.