Poll Shows "Improved" Numbers for Kinder Despite Scandal

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Kinder: Always making the best of the poles polls.
  • Kinder: Always making the best of the poles polls.
Peter Kinder's campaign recently paid for a poll of 600 likely Missouri voters, asking them whom they'd vote for in Missouri's 2012 gubernatorial race.

Based on the answers, Governor Jay Nixon would trounce his Republican rival if an election were held today. The incumbent Democrat earned 48 percent of the vote to Kinder's 41 percent. Eleven percent of those asked were undecided.

Ordinarily, a poll showing your opponent whipping you by seven percentage points wouldn't see the light of day. Kinder's camp, however, believes the poll significant because it "came during the height of the recent media coverage of Kinder." The poll -- taken August 10, 11 and 14 -- goes on to state that despite the "negative news coverage Kinder has received," his opponent fails to clear 50 percent on the ballot as an incumbent.

But as Politico.com points out, the poll didn't really come at the "height of recent media coverage."
It was only one day prior -- on Aug. 9 -- that the Riverfront Times published its interview with dancer Tammy Chapman, who alleged Kinder became obsessed with her and asked her to move into his condo....So, while it's fair to say the poll came after the scandal dropped, it had not yet reached full media saturation, as it did the following week when local television stations and mainstream media outlets began to dive into the details.
Indeed, the Post-Dispatch didn't deem it news until a front-page story on August 18 -- four days after the poll concluded. Since the poll, Republican donors have also begun to withdraw their support for Kinder.

Some other interesting findings from the poll:
  • Despite Kinder's many hotel room stays in St. Louis, it's in the Gateway City that he has his worst numbers, with 58 percent of metro-area voters favoring Nixon.
  • Kinder's image among voters has actually improved since May, with 33 percent of respondents saying that had a "favorable" image of him in August. In May, just 24 percent of likely voters said the same.

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