Monday, September 07, 2009

McCaskill's Town Hall Bump?

The August SurveyUSA polling shows Sen. Claire McCaskill receiving a boost, with a 52% job approval rate. That's up five points from her July numbers.

Sure, the margin of error is 4 points. But could it be that McCaskill received a slight bump from holding a flurry of open townhall meetings all across the state?

It's hard to say. But here's what we can surmise from looking at the data we have: In July, SurveyUSA counted 41% of their respondents as Democrats -- the same as in August. What did change was the amount of Republicans SurveyUSA included in its count.

The modification is likely a result of a percentage of Missouri independents fleeing into the Republican column because of fears about a government run healthcare plan.

SurveyUSA is guessing that shift equates to 3 percent. In July, 27 percent of its polling pool was made up of Republicans, compared to 30% in August. That re-calculation consequently dropped the number of independents from 26% to 23%.

In July, 24% of Republicans approved of McCaskill. That jumped to 31% in August -- a 7 point upward swing for the Missouri moderate. She also got a boost from her own party, going from 69% among Democrats in July to 77% in August. (There was just a one point shift among independents.)

So, the question may be a tad counter intuitive? Despite the yelling, the interruptions, the protests, the raw anger -- did McCaskill's run of, at times, raucous townhalls aid her politically? Did slightly more Republicans who disagree with McCaskill on the public option give her the benefit of the doubt on the way she's handling her job?

In Southwest Missouri, her approval rating soared to 52% (up 9 points from 43% in July). (With the ire out there right now on the right, I'd guess that number is a bit high.)

It's true the August polling was conducted before McCaskill stood in the lion's den at the civic center in West Plains and at the Gillioz in Springfield. It's also plausible that the polling could be a fluke.

But if her September numbers turn up solid and stable, she may just make standing in front of your foes and taking fire -- 'en vogue' -- just in time for fall.

ALSO: Sen. Bond's approval was down slightly to 51%. In Missouri, President Obama's approval rating fell to 48% (down 7 points from July.)

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