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Nixon holds modest lead over Kinder, poll finds

By   /   March 11, 2011  /   1 Comment

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, continues to lead by 45 percent to 38 percent over Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, in the 2012 election campaign for the state’s top political job, according to a new poll.

Click for video of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon talking about politics at Democrat Days in Hannibal last weekend

Nixon has above average approval numbers, with 47 percent of voters happy with the job he’s doing to 31 percent who disapprove, according to Public Policy Polling, which conducts polls mostly for Democrats.

“Nixon’s numbers have an unusual pattern by party,” according to a blog posting by PPP. Only 60 percent of Democrats like what Nixon is doing while 24 percent disapprove, according to the pollster. “That’s a tepid level support from within his own party.”

Nixon has almost as many Republicans — 32 percent — who approve of his performance as there are who are unhappy — 40 percent — according to the analysis by PPP. “It’s rare to see any politician come that close to breaking even across party lines.”

Kinder is still mostly unknown to voters across Missouri, according to the polling firm, with 51 percent saying they do not know enough about him to have an opinion. 25 percent rate him favorably, and 24 percent unfavorably.

“The big picture on this race remains the same as the last time we polled it in early December,” PPP concludes.

Click for video of Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder talking about politics at Lincoln Days in Springfield last month

“Nixon is popular and certainly favored for reelection but he’s not invincible and he’s almost definitely going to have a tougher fight this time around.”

Another pollster told Missouri Watchdog earlier this week that Nixon may face a tough reelection in 2012.

The Democrat elected in 2008 received a 61 percent approval rating in a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican political consulting firm.

The governor’s “strong” approval rating, however, was 13 percent, the same as where Nixon tested in a comparable poll in February 2009, according to Neil Newhouse, a partner and co-founder of the firm.

The score was “extremely low,” Newhouse said.

“Generally, an incumbent governor’s ‘strong’ job approval score should be about half of his overall approval score, meaning that Nixon’s should be around 30 percent,” he said, comparing Nixon’s results to scores by former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat who lost last fall to now Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican.

In February 2009 Strickland’s approval rating was 60 percent but his “strong” rating was 18 percent, he said.

Newhouse’s survey polled 600 Missourians in January, with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percent.

PPP polled 612 Missouri voters from March 3 to 6.  The margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percent.

By Brian R. Hookbrhook@missouriwatchdog.org, (314) 482-7944

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Brian formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Erin Dunn

    I am supporting Bill Randles in the Republican Primary in the governor’s race. I recommend that anyone who cares about the future of this state get familiar with Mr. Randles and his outstanding plan for improving Missouri. I’ve heard him speak several times already and I am very energized by his candidacy!