By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog
ST. LOUIS — A recent poll indicates the presidential race may be tightening in Missouri, but don’t expect plenty of campaign stops by President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Not yet, anyway.
A SurveyUSA poll conducted for four Missouri television stations shows the Republican Romney holding a 45 percent to 44 percent lead over Obama in the state, with 6 percent planning to vote for someone else and 5 percent undecided.
Moderates favor the Democratic incumbent 2-to-1 in the results released Sunday, which keeps the numbers close in the right-leaning Show Me State.
University of Missouri political science professor Peverill Squire says he’s not surprised the race may be closer than observers anticipated, but more surveys showing similar numbers will be needed for Missouri to regain its former status as a battleground state.
“It will probably take more evidence to get them into the state and running a lot of TV ads,” he told Missouri Watchdog.
Missouri has voted for the GOP candidate in the past three presidential elections, but John McCain won by only 4,000 votes over Obama in 2008.
That’s one reason Squire expects Missouri’s 10 electoral votes to factor into the national picture in November.
“I don’t think Obama will have lost that much support over the last four years,” he said.
George Connor, head of political science at Missouri State University, told Watchdog last month the growth of counties that lean heavily Republican is likely to benefit Romney in the election.
The SurveyUSA numbers were discouraging for U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. The incumbent Democrat trails her Republican challenger, Todd Akin, 51 percent to 40 percent in a key race to determine if Democrats can hold onto control of the Senate.
Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has a 51-to-37 lead over his Republican challenger, Dave Spence, in that survey.
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