McCaskill, Hawley locked in close race for US Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. — A poll released on Thursday by 1st Tuesday Campaigns, a new bi-partisan firm focused on state and international ballot referendums and initiatives, showed a dead heat for the U.S. Senate with a month to go until Election Day, while three measures aimed at legalizing medical marijuana all enjoy comfortable leads. The October 5-6 survey of 1,052 likely Missouri voters has Republican Josh Hawley up 2 points over Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill – 44 percent to 42 percent with 11 percent undecided. Each of the measures to legalize marijuana receives 62 percent yes or better.
Incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill finds herself in a fight to win a third term. State Attorney General Josh Hawley now holds a 2-point lead over McCaskill with only 40 percent of voters approving of the job she is doing.
None of the third party candidates have gained any traction overall, but in a race this close, the cumulative 3-4 percent that these candidates are garnering could matter in the final tally.
Similar to McCaskill’s victory over Jim Talent in 2006, this race will come down to turnout. Democratic voter enthusiasm has been high throughout the Trump presidency, and if McCaskill can tap into that enthusiasm without losing her appeal to more moderate and conservative voters, then she still has a chance. If fallout from the recent fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination increases Republican turnout, she could be in real trouble against Hawley.
Amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana is the clear favorite with 69 percent of likely voters planning to vote yes and only 17 percent voting no. Amendment 2 would impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale and use funds from these taxes for heath and care services for military veterans.
Amendment 3 is polling second at 64 percent yes and 23 percent no. The measure would impose a 15 percent tax on the retail sale for use to establish a state research fund for cancer and other diseases.
Proposition C is polling last of the three measures to legalize medical marijuana but still garners a healthy majority with 62 percent planning to vote yes and 25 percent no. Proposition C would remove state prohibitions on the personal use, possession, growth, production and sale of medical marijuana and would impose a 2 percent tax to use on veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility.
The measure with the highest vote threshold will be the only one to become law.
Election Day is all about turnout. An average of 55 percent of respondents in the poll say they are “more likely” to vote in November’s elections because of the marijuana measures. This number is highest among Democrats and the 18-34 age group. If you look at how those groups are voting in the Senate race, you see that younger voters energized by the marijuana ballot measures are keeping McCaskill in the race. Younger voters are among the most difficult demographic to turn out, so the larger the vote totals are for the marijuana ballot issue, the greater chance McCaskill has to win. She needs the marijuana vote more than Josh Hawley.
“The right ballot measure can turn out traditionally low-propensity voting blocks,” 1st Tuesday co-founder Gerry Gunster said. “As is potentially the case in Missouri this cycle, the medical marijuana ballot measure appears to be energizing a segment of voters that is crucial to Senator McCaskill’s campaign. The use of ballot measures to drive turnout is an increasingly popular tool among state legislatures and candidates hoping to pair with an issue-based campaign to win on election day.”
“With the potential of a re-energized Republican base that we have seen since the Kavanaugh hearings, Senator McCaskill will need a robust turnout operation to get her over the top against Josh Hawley,” said 1st Tuesday co-founder Matt Rodriguez. “Younger voters, African Americans, and yes voters on the marijuana measures are all crucial to her coalition.”
About 1st Tuesday Campaigns
1st Tuesday Campaigns is a new bi-partisan firm launched by veteran campaign strategists Gerry Gunster, Matt Rodriguez, and Jonathan Stember. Launched on October 10, 2018, the firm will focus exclusively on ballot initiatives and referendums. Services will include opinion research and message development, campaign strategy and management; earned media relations; creative testing, production and advertising; paid media placement; and voter contact operations.
The team brings decades of campaign experience from the right and left sides of the political spectrum. Throughout the final weeks of the 2018 campaign season, the 1st Tuesday team will provide expert insight into this season’s most hotly contested state ballot measures across the country, with exclusive polling and commentary through news media partners and 1st Tuesday’s own social channels, including @1stTuesCampaign on Twitter and @1stTuesdayCampaigns on Instagram and Facebook, along with 1stTuesdayCampaigns.com.
About the Survey
The survey of 1,052 likely voters was conducted online. Respondents were selected to be representative of registered voters living in the state of Missouri based on age, gender, ethnicity, education and homeownership.
In order to achieve a representative sample, figures for Missouri from the U.S. Census Bureau were used to derive weighting targets. The final survey data was weighted by age, gender, ethnicity, geographic region, homeownership and 2016 Presidential election vote.
Just over 1,700 online interviews took place between October 5-6, 2018. Respondents were asked a number of questions regarding their eligibility to vote at their current address in the state of Missouri; their voting history; and their likelihood to vote in the elections in November 2018.
Of the 1,700 online interviews that took place, the 1,052 registered voters who were identified as the most likely to vote in the elections in November 2018 were permitted to take and complete the final survey.
This survey has a margin of error of 3.02 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. The margin of error within specific demographics (crosstabs) is significantly higher due to the smaller sample size. Due to the effects of rounding some figures may not equal 100 percent.
1st Tuesday Campaigns is not involved with any of the candidates or ballot measures in Missouri this cycle.