The Washington Times - August 23, 2012, 01:36PM

Missouri Rep. W. Todd Akin has plummeted in a new poll, falling 10 points behind Sen. Claire McCaskill in a survey taken after he made controversial comments about rape.

Once thought to be vulnerable to Republicans, Mrs. McCaskill now leads the battered six-term congressman 48 percent to 38 percent in a Rasmussen poll of 500 likely Missouri voters, conducted Wednesday.

That’s a reversal from one month ago, when she trailed him by 3 points, although that poll was taken while Mr. Akin still was fighting off two challengers in a close primary battle.

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Mr. Akin has weathered a political hurricane over the past few days. After an interview in which he suggested that women who are “legitimately raped” are less likely to conceive, nearly every top Republican called for him resign from the race, but he has refused to do so.

Now he faces two months of campaigning virtually alone, without any help from the national party and outside groups, which have pulled ads they originally planned to air across the state to boost his candidacy.

But Mr. Akin touted the latest poll as evidence that he can go it alone.

“The face that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48 percent after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows shows just how weak she is,” he said. “If she can’t break 50 percent after a week like this, Democrats should ask Claire to step down.”

The poll also showed that Missouri voters are split over whether he should step down, with 41 percent saying he should withdraw and 42 percent saying he should stay on.