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Akin Edges Out Brunner In Survey of Influential Republicans

The inaugural Red Arch survey asked more than 50 influential Republicans questions tied to the GOP primary.

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)

george theodorakos July 16, 2012 at 02:02 PM
here is the problem with your survery....you choose influential republicans...that is the problem...they are not the voice...the common man is......and sarah steelman receives no support...that is the reason I would favor her....if the republican establishment doesnt want her...that tells me ...she doesnt follow the "line"...we have had enough of the establishment...look at the mess we are in ...at every level....who do you vote for....the reason for the tea party or any third party.....a do nothing congress...a do nothing president....dont forget....obama had a democrat controlled senate and house his first two years....nothing happened except bail outs...and the worst...bailing out banks......the absurdity of it all.......one thing about sara steelman...she is for term limits at all levels....here here...long overdue.....and no pension for those who serve in an elected capacity.....absolutely.....no elected public official should be on any type of pension.....first of all...they should only serve two terms period......establishment republicans.....just as bad as establishment democrats...they are really one in the same......
Philip Scherry July 16, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I know that I support Brunner just from the perspective he has not been in politics for many years, and has run a very successful business.
flyoverland July 16, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Who are these "influential Republicans?" I really don't put much credence in a poll that doesn't release its methodology.
Gregg Palermo July 16, 2012 at 04:51 PM
We were actually very clear about our methodology in that we don't pretend these are scientific. A list of who was polled was inadvertently deleted in an earlier version and will be added shortly.
Kevin Sheely July 16, 2012 at 05:21 PM
What Republican establishment? I've been paying close attention and haven't heard jack out of any 'establishment'. Steelman receives no support because she is a terrible speaker. I've heard she is a very smart lady but in front of an audience or a camera she comes off looking and sounding like an amateur with nothing much to say beyond platitudes. Brunner has at least said some good things and enlivened the debate with some straight talk which is welcome and refreshing, but it's easy for him to sound good, the man has no public record. He's probably made a mistake or two in the past 20 years, but how would we ever know about it? Todd Akin, on the other hand, is quite serious, completely prepared and ready to lead. He gave up a very safe Congressional seat not because he has a desire for more power, but rather because he has a desire to serve. Primary voters know this. He will defeat Claire McCaskill. Missouri Republicans are complacent, we are acting like this one's already in the bag, and it's not. Claire McCaskill is a wily veteran with a fat checkbook and lots of friends. We can't afford to send a rookie or an amateur to face her in the general election.
flyoverland July 16, 2012 at 05:33 PM
What is the purpose of doing unscientific polls? It seems kind of like doing unscientific clinical trials.
Gregg Palermo July 16, 2012 at 05:41 PM
We've updated the story to reflect our participants. We think this is a worthwhile exercise that helps shine a different spotlight on the campaign season.
Tom Maher July 16, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Interesting characterizations by Mr. Sheely: Ms. McCaskill is "a wily veteran with a fat checkbook" whereas Mr. Akin has "a desire to serve." At least McCaskill votes in her proper (and legal) district, whereas Akin did not - and repeatedly. How "serious and prepared" is that? Of course, we have yet to discover where his wife or at-home voting age children voted. I DO wonder why...
flyoverland July 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM
The professional political class. If they like Akin, I am voting for Brunner.
Donna Maggard July 17, 2012 at 02:43 AM
I prefer Brunner... He did very well in the televised debate and has business experience.
Kevin Sheely July 17, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Honestly when I said Claire McCaskill is a wily veteran with a fat checkbook I meant it as a compliment. People on our side keep calling her toast, air Claire, one-and-done ObamaClaire-has-no-chance and so forth...and maybe that's true. Still, why would we choose to send a rookie up against her? Nothing against hand sanitizer, but Akin sold computers for IBM then managed a steel mill, sounds kinda like business experience to me. He has a degree in theology and studies the bible every day, which serves to keep a person humble. Mr. Brunner could use a dose of humility. With all respect, he should serve a few terms in the STATE senate then get back to us.
Tom Maher July 17, 2012 at 07:55 AM
Well. it would seem then that both Akin and Brunner have business experience - true? If it's good for Akin, then perforce it is good for Brunner, n'est-ce pas? How a degree in theology and studying the Bible every day keeps one humble is beyond me. Obviously he brags on his "sent from God" opinion of himself at every opportunity to reinforce his standing with his particular demographic. How ethical is it that he voted about 10 times in a precinct where he did not live? Was his spouse that "smart?"
Tom Martz July 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM
It is a worthwhile exercise because it does give us common folk a means to know who we shouldn't be supporting.
Kevin Sheely July 17, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Yes, yes, we're all very impressed you speak french...you really know how to reach out to us Republican primary voters. And I didn't go to bible college but my understanding is bible study reminds us of how little we truly know, that there are forces in the universe greater than ourselves, and we are all imperfect but by living the commandments we might emulate the words and deeds of Jesus. As far as the voting issue, it's out there, it's fair game, although I suspect any primary voters who are really troubled would also be aware that Brunner oftentimes doesn't bother to vote at all.
Tom Maher July 18, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Actually, I don't speak French (capital "F", you know...) - but it seemed an appropriate phrase. Wearing one's religion on one's sleeve and emphasizing how one keeps doing God's work in the political arena seems like more than a bit - how shall I phrase it - "Vote for me 'cause I love my Christian faith and that is all that matters." Of course, that would apply to ANY religion so used as a political recommendation. As to Akin v. Brunner in their voting history - at least Brunner did not vote illegally and unethically - right? And you are correct about GOP primary voters - those who favor Akin could care less about his voting peccadilloes; he is an Xtian and he loves 'Murrica - what more could one want? Wait - ain't Brunner an Xtian and former military man? What's a body to do?
Papa Wheelie July 18, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Akin does not appear to be nearly as corruptible as many "successful businessmen" who head to Washington. He has been around a while and doesn't seem to have had (m)any accusations like most others. With Brunner "outsider" to me says CMcC gonna find something he did and use it against him.
Matt Hay July 18, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Right, instead, he will just continue to vote for more spending, continued re-authorizations of the Patriot act until my children have grandchildren, who can longingly remember their grandfather, who was indefinitely detained under Section 1021 of the NDAA 2012 because he actually thought that the Constitution was the Supreme Law of the land. The NDAA 2012 is the act that Akin voted to authorize and even rose to "vehemently support" during debate. If he does not understand that those 2 pieces of legislation are about as much of an affront to the intent of the Founders as could be created, he certainly cannot be counted on to understand anything else. Brunner for US Senate all the way.
Scott Simon July 19, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Unscientfic polls are journalism's "feel-good-hey-look-we're-in-touch-with-you." They're so far off the mark most of the time they're a waste of space and time. And when someone's time is wasted....click....
Gregg Palermo July 19, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Thanks for reading this story, Scott, even if I strongly disagree with your premise. It's not a feel-good attempt to be in touch with you...it's about growing a community discussion in ways you're not seeing in other places.

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