If the election were held today, political insiders in Missouri say U.S. Representative Todd Akin (R-) would narrowly edge businessman John Brunner for their support for the Republican nomination to face U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. That's the main finding of the inaugural Red Arch survey conducted by Missouri Patch sites.
More than 50 influential Republicans, primarily from the St. Louis area, were asked using an automated survey tool what they thought about a variety of questions relating to the U.S. Senate primary race. Thirty-three responses were collected.
A majority (51.5 percent) of respondents said they would back Rep. Akin over Brunner (45.5 percent) if the election were held today. Former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman received no support. Three percent selected "other."
The survey showed no clear indication of which candidate they believed has the support of the majority of the Tea Party movement. A narrow plurality (40.6 percent) said they felt Rep. Akin had the movement's backing, while 37.5 percent chose Brunner. Of the respondents, 21.9 percent listed Steelman.
So far in the campaign, one Tea Party group, FreedomWorks, officially has backed Brunner, while Steelman has snagged the endorsement of the Tea Party Express. Rep. Akin has the endorsement of Tea Party Caucus founder and former Presidential hopeful Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-Minn).
A clear-cut majority of respondents (57.6 percent) said Tea Party support will not be a significant factor in the minds of voters in August.
Another question that failed to clinch a clear majority is the one asking for the single issue that should best distinguish any Republican challenger from Claire McCaskill in November. Fourteen respondents (42.4 percent) said the issue was Job Growth/Creation, while 13 respondents (39.4) said Healthcare. The remaining 18.2 percent listed Government Regulation.
The Red Arch/Blue Arch Survey
Patch political surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population, but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican and Democratic activists, party leaders and elected officials in Missouri. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this week's questions. Interviews for this poll were conducted between July 9 and July 13, 2012.
Patch will be conducting Red Arch and Blue Arch surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives, liberals and moderates on the ground in Missouri.
If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a bi-weekly survey that lasts just a few minutes, please email Gregg.Palermo@patch.com.
Red Arch Roster
Arthur Merdinian (Olivette Mayor), Ruth Springer (former Olivette Mayor), Frederic Steinbach (former Chesterfield Mayor), Randy Jotte (Candidate for Congress), Katy Forand (Gravois Township Committeewoman) Scott Rup (State Senator/Secretary of State Candidate), Rick Stokes (Wentzville Alderman/State Rep. Candidate), Charlie Hinderliter (State Legislative campaign manager), Mark Parkinson (State Rep.), Chrissy Sommer (State Rep.), Jon Bennett (St. Charles Township Committeeman), Eugene Dokes (Chairman of St. Charles County Republican Central Committee), Chuck Gross (former State Senator), Cheryl Bates (St. Charles Young Republicans President), Penny Henke (St. Charles County Republican Central Committeewoman), Joe Cronin (St. Charles County Council), Terry Hollander (St. Charles County Council), Mike Nunnery (Republican voter), Jim Pepper (O'Fallon City Council), David Blanke (Lewis & Clark Republican Township Committeeman), Robyn Hamlin (Candidate for Congress), Don Bickowski (Jefferson County Council member), Linda Van De Riet (Jefferson County Republican Central Committee member), Renee Reuter (Jefferson County Council Member), D.J. Cully (Jefferson County Council candidate), Roy W. Sims (High Ridge Township Republican committeeman candidate), Celeste Witzel (GOP Committeewoman for the Oakville Township), Alan Leaderbrand (GOP Committeeman for the Lemay Township), Kourtney Lamb (President of the Brentwood Young Republicans), Dennis Broadbooks , (Wild Horse Township), Eileen Tyrrell (Meramec Township Member), Judy Hon (Chesterfield Township Committeewoman), Anne Gassel (Wild Horse Township Committeewoman), Chris Howard (Lafayette Township Committeeman/Convention Delegate), Kevin Rejent (Election Attorney), Richard C. Rowe (Republican voter), Rekha Sharma (State Rep. Candidate), Darin Morley (Reboot Congress blogger), Mark Zinn (GOP Consultant), Cynthia Davis (candidate for Lt. Governor), Sue Allen (State Rep.), Claire Chosid (Republican voter), John Diehl (State Rep.), Lee Presser (blogger/tv host), Ed Martin (Attorney General candidate), Carl Bearden (Former State Rep/Exec. Dir. United for Missouri), Michael Morton (Regional Political Director/Ann Wagner campaign), Christopher Brooks (Candidate For County Central Committee), Marsha Haefner (State Rep.), Cloria Brown (State Rep.), Philip Scherry (Rock Hill Alderman), Derek Michael Spencer (Regional Political Director/Brad Lager For Lt. Gov.), Brian Spencer (State Rep. candidate), Catherine Dreher (Candidate for Committeewoman candidate), Annette Read (Candidate, Missouri River Township GOP Committeewoman), Chris Gard (State Rep. candidate), Anthony Pousosa (St. Louis County Council candidate)