I'm glad that we're now starting to have a better idea of the shape of the Senate race, as we settle down on who the candidates are going to be, and how they're polling against incumbents (or each other, in the case of open seats). Soon I will update my Senate projections with actual data.
In the meantime, we've got the first Missouri Senate poll in two months. Sarah Steelman polls an absolute majority over incumbent Claire McCaskill.
Some may question that Rasmussen's polling is so far off of PPP's earlier results, but that's easily explained. Rasmussen is already trying to model the actual likely electorate, while PPP is just polling all registered voters. Clearly the 2012 Presidential electorate will differ from the 2010 off-year electorate, but it's not going to be 100% turnout, either.
So, anyway. 500LVs, MoE 4.5. Steelman leads McCaskill 51-41. Among other matchups McCaskill is still behind. Todd Akin leads her 50-43, John Brunner is up 49-42, and Tom Schweich leads 47-43. Lead percentages for each Republican: Steelman 86%, Akin 78%, Brunner 78%, Schweich 67%. Those changes by the way are in slight differences across the board, not in what appear to be large differences in the candidates. The Republicans stay in a band of 47-51, while McCaskill ranges from 41 to 43. It's possible that if we ran the poll again, the results would flip in terms of which Republican is on top.
So I'm not sure Republicans should take away from this poll anything about 'electability'. Mathematically, Steelman's 51 has only a two-thirds chance of being ahead of Schweich's 47%, with an MoE of 4.5.
This polling does however suggest that Republicans have a pick up opportunity in Missouri this time, a state the President just barely lost in 2008, but that he might not even bother trying to flip this time.