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It’s party time! (Well, maybe not)

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This is an election year and, of course, we are deluged with polls during election years – there’s no escaping that. And while the polls indicate one candidate leads another in any given race … what is very interesting is that those polls, if accurate, indicate Missourians are once again showing they don’t necessarily support the political party as much as they support the candidate.

A great example of this is seen in the latest Rasmussen Reports polling for the Missouri gubernatorial race … and on Missourians’ preferences in the presidential contest.

A March 24th survey of the race for the Governor’s Office shows Democrat Jay Nixon with a 46% to 39% lead over Republican Sarah Steelman. The same survey shows Nixon with a 48% to 37% lead in a head-to-head match-up with Republican Kenny Hulshof.

Let’s move to the race for the White House. A March 24th Rasmussen Reports poll of Missourians’ presidential preferences indicates Show-Me Staters prefer Republican John McCain by a wide margin over both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – one of whom is expected to be the Democratic flag-bearer in November. McCain leads Obama 53% to 38% … and has a 50% to 41% edge over Clinton. This latest Rasmussen survey shifts Missouri from "Toss-Up" status to the "Leans Republican" category.

Certainly, we are still early in this election year and a lot can change between now and November (and even between now and the end of the primary season for the Democrats). But it’s yet another indication of Missouri’s importance on the national political scene.

Unlike some states – Maryland or Massachusetts, for instance – in which statewide contests almost always go to the person with the "D" after his or her name … or Idaho in which voters look for the "R" before marking the ballot … party just doesn’t seem to be as important as the candidate in Missouri.

When I first moved to Missouri in 2000, a colleague in the Missourinet newsroom explained something to me about politics in this state. He told me most Missourians don’t blindly vote by party affiliation … they vote for the candidate they believe is best suited to do the job. Maybe the folks in Baltimore, Boston, and Boise can learn something from us.

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 29, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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