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Akin takes the lead in Missouri in new poll

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A Republican polling firm has GOP Rep. Todd Akin up by four points over Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in their hard-fought Missouri Senate race.

Mr. Akin led his opponent 49 percent to 45 percent in a survey conducted for the Citizens United Victory Fund by Wenzel Strategies, one of just two polls to give him the upper hand after his party all but abandoned him in August for his widely condemned comments that victims of “legitimate” rape are unlikely to become pregnant.

That’s because Mr. Akin led among independents by a 50 percent to 41 percent margin, according to the pollster. He also appeared to have stronger support from his own party. Eighty-four percent of Republican respondents said they would vote for him, compared to 82 percent of Democrats for Mrs. McCaskill.

Both candidates are struggling with their likeability quotient. Despite Mr. Akin’s well-chronicled troubles, Mrs. McCaskill appeared even less popular with voters, viewed unfavorably by 52 percent of respondents, compared to 49 percent who said they did not like Mr. Akin.

Most polls had shown Mrs. McCaskill holding about a six-point lead over Mr. Akin over the last few weeks, after the congressman lost major ground in the wake of his rape comments. While national Republican Party officials still refuse to back him, more GOP-affiliated and social conservative groups have since lent him a hand, still hoping to turn around a race that could help the party win control of the Senate.

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